When Disaster Strikes

By Heidi Rosofsky, Global Vision Consortium

If you have thought or ever asked, “Disasters seem so overwhelming. Where, how do I even start to prepare?” you are not alone. Yet the need to prepare for disasters has never been so apparent. The nightly news has been filled with images and stories of deadly disasters from across the country:

  • Wildland fires burning tinder-dry brush at speeds faster than a person can run.
  • Tornado funnel clouds dropping from the sky and cutting swaths of devastation neighborhoods.
  • Families walking waist deep in muddy waters trying to reach higher ground, people plucked from 2nd stories or half-submerged cars as raging waters filled streets and rivers jumped their banks flooding whole towns in a matter of minutes.
  • Reporters interviewing residents in shelters or in front of homes destroyed by a variety of disasters.

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparation is Critical for the Disability Community

The wake of disasters makes very clear we are all at risk of having our lives turned upside down. Sometimes these stories and images can make us feel preparing for a disaster is overwhelming. But preparedness can be broken into achievable steps. Each step we take increases our resiliency—our ability to survive, cope with and recover from a disaster.

To help you start taking steps, the Abilities Expo is offering Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities workshops. Emergency Planning experts will provide disability-specific strategies that can help you assess, understand, make plans to meet your general and disability needs including:

  • Building and personalizing disaster supply kits on a budget.
  • Assessing your disability-related needs such as identifying resources and/or assistance you currently use and alternate methods to meet your needs should your usual sources become unavailable because of a disaster.
  • Putting together & training Personal Support Teams.
  • Creating a communications plan to ensure you receive all emergency information and get in touch with loved ones.
  • Identifying protective actions and safe spaces.

Emergency Preparedness

Start preparing today. Resources to help you prepare are available at www.disability.gov, click the emergency preparedness tab. Come to the Abilities Expo and attend an Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities workshop or visit the Emergency Preparedness Resource Booth. Share what you learn with others so you will all be ready and know what to do when disaster strikes.

About the Author:

Heidi Rosofsky is a senior member of the Global Vision Consortium consulting team and the national coordinator for the 2016 Abilities Expo emergency preparedness theme. Heidi become involved in inclusive planning after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the early 1980s. As a strong advocate for stakeholder engagement and a leading inclusive planning subject matter expert, Heidi remains committed to improving how individuals with disabilities, access and functional needs are accommodated when disaster strikes. Additional information available at www.gvc1.com.

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