Tag Archives: people with disabilities

  • September is National Preparedness Month

    by comedy_nose on flickr ccNational Preparedness Month was started in 2004 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) along with the Department of Homeland Security with the goal of empowering Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

    This year, it is estimated that more than 3000 organizations—national, regional, and local governments, as well as private and public organizations—will support emergency preparedness efforts and encourage Americans to take action [source].

    National Preparedness Month & People with Disabilities

    Living with a physical disability or mobility challenge makes it even more important to ensure that you have an emergency plan in place. Knowing what to do, who to contact, and where to go in the event of an emergency can make a difference in helping to keep you and your family safe. It can also reduce the amount of time it takes to receive proper medical attention, if necessary. That said, the following is a brief list of items to keep in mind as you plan.

    3 Tips to Help People with Disabilities Prepare for an Emergency Situation

    # 1 - Keep a list of important information.

    Keep a printed copy of information for important emergency contacts. Be sure to include the person’s name, email address, phone number and social media.

    Include names and several points of contact for: caregivers, doctors/medical team, co-workers, and other service providers.

    #2 - Create & Share an Emergency Plan of Action.

    Having a physical disability may mean that you have to allow extra time for evacuation during an emergency situation, such as a hurricane, flooding, or other situation where help may be required.

    Create an Emergency Plan of Action, and be sure to share it with your close friends, family, and/or caregivers.

    Your emergency plan should contain the following information:

    • Name and information for your emergency contact person
    • What mobility products or accessories your physical disability may require (and where they are kept)
    • Your plans to remain independent, should you require oxygen or mechanical ventilation
    • Location and names of any medication(s) you may need

    #3 - Review Your Emergency Plan of Action.

    Review your Emergency Plan of Action the same way you would practice a fire drill. Involve members of your support group and/or community. By including others in your Emergency Plan of Action, you are also helping to raise awareness about the functional needs of physically disabled persons in your community.

    Speak with your employer about your Emergency Plan, and figure out ways to incorporate a similar plan for disabled persons at your workplace (if there isn’t already a plan in place).

    Reach out to local community organizations and emergency personnel in the area that you live in to see if a current plan exists.

    by zeevveez on flickr cc

    Quick Emergency Preparedness Checklist for Disabled Persons

    Emergency Preparedness in Your FAMILY

    • Speak with your family and put together a plan of action to help you stay organized during an emergency situation.
    • Prepare an emergency evacuation kit (Things to include in the kit: printed list of names/phone numbers, and/or other medical information, medication(s), cash, flashlight, batteries, etc.).

    Emergency Preparedness in Your NEIGHBORHOOD

    • Know what the emergency evacuation routes are.
    • Have access to a wheelchair van or other handicap-accessible vehicle.
    • Have the handicap accessible accessories in your home to aid you in evacuating (ex: stair lifts, wheelchair ramps, etc.).
    • Have the phone number of a neighbor or friend who lives nearby (someone you can contact in the event that you have difficulty exiting your home during an emergency).

    Emergency Preparedness in Your WORKPLACE/SCHOOL

    • Know what sorts of emergency plan your child’s school has in place - particularly as it relates to his/her physical disability.
    • Speak to your employer about a having an emergency plan of action at your place of work (ex: knowing which handicap-accessible exits to take in the event of an emergency, etc.).

    Emergency Preparedness on a GLOBAL Scale

    Check out to see what sorts of things you should know when traveling with a disabled person.

    Things to be aware of:

    • Transportation - making sure you have access to a handicap-accessible van when traveling
    • Lodging  - Making sure that hotels are handicap accessible
    • Restaurants/Venues - Researching handicap or wheelchair accessible restaurants and venues
    • Medical Info - Being sure you have all of your medical information with you, including (but not limited to: prescription information, emergency contact information, etc.). Know/Research nearby medical facilities that are close to where you are staying - just in case of an emergency.
    • Talk to Your Doctor(s) - Speak with your medical team before taking any long distance/lengthy trip

    Have another tip you'd like to share? Let us know on our Facebook page.

    Other Helpful Resources:

    • CDC | http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/preparedness_month.htm
    • American Red Cross | http://www.redcross.org/prepare/nationalpreparednessmonth
    • Ready.gov | http://www.ready.gov/september
    • Ready.gov | http://www.ready.gov/individuals-access-functional-needs

    Learn which used handicap van is right for you. Contact Van Products today by calling: (800) 209-6133.

  • Winter Safety Tips for People with Disabilities

    As the many parts of the country deal with harsh winter weather and winter storms, people with disabilities will want to take extra precautions as some disabilities may increase limitations, such as being able to regulate/maintain body heat.

    The following are some helpful winter safety tips for those with disabilities to keep you safer and warmer this winter!

    by kelly.sikkema on flickr cc

    Tips to Help Disabled Persons Stay Safer This Winter

    If you (or someone you know) suffer from a disability, be sure to:

    #1 - Wear multiple layers of clothing.

    It is important to wear layered clothing during the winter because it keeps the body warm. Besides this, it is far easier to take layers off than to face the alternative: not having enough layers on to keep you warm. Additionally, you should be careful to wear a scarf, insulated gloves, doubled up socks, and a pair of lined, winter boots if going outdoors.

    #2 - Carry a cell phone.

    Even though it seems like a no-brainer, you should always carry your cell phone with you - even if it's to go to your mailbox. Too often, you hear about folks who manage to lock themselves out of their homes or out of their vehicles. Depending on where you live, you could be waiting a while before help arrives if you don't have a cell phone to call for help immediately.

    #3 - Sign up with the Special Needs Registry in your area.

    Each county within each state of the United States has what is called a "Special Needs Registry." This allows those residents who have special needs or who require special assistance to register with their county. In the event that there is a natural disaster or an evacuation, or something else that would require other assistance, your information will be on file in the area that you live in, making it more accessible to get the help that you need, when you need it most.

    Refer to your local community to find out more information. Here is an example of the Special Needs Registry in Fairfax County, VA.

    #4 - Always stock up on non-perishable food items.

    Whether you rely on home-delivered meals or have a used wheelchair accessible van for your own transportation, winter weather can affect EVERYONE.  In the event that you are advised to stay off of the roads until the weather has cleared, always be sure to keep plenty of nonperishable food in your pantry to last at least several days.

    #5 - Put together a prescription plan of action with your medical staff.

    In the even that you are shut in for an extended period of time due to weather, have a plan of action ahead of time to figure out how to handle prescription pill refill needs and other medical treatments/equipment, etc. This also includes having a back up plan in place in case your medical needs require the use of a power source, such as a battery pack or electrical source.

    For additional information about used handicap vans, contact us today by filling out our simple, online form here, or by calling us toll-free: 1.800.209.6133.

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