We all remember Hurricane Katrina. Many were not prepared for the storm or the flooding that followed. Several families with children with disabilities or special health care needs were forced to relocate to Texas after that event. Many arrived with nothing.
Are you prepared in case an emergency event happens in your community? Here are resources and information to help you make a plan and be prepared.
You can also find “Have a Plan” fact sheets on other types of disasters, from anthrax to tornados to wildfires.
And don’t forget to plan for your pets.
Sit down with your family and decide how you will contact one another, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Use this Emergency Plan Form to create your plan. Keep a copy in your emergency kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster.
Build a supply kit or at least create a checklist of items you need to take with you. You can find a Disaster Supply Checklist here. Adapt it to meet your specific needs.
Don’t forget medications and important documents—like a copy of your child’s evaluations, Individualized Education Program (IEP), Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP), Individual Plan of Care (IPC), or Individual Plan for Employment (IPE). If you must relocate, having copies of these documents makes it easier to transition to a new school district,
Fill up your car’s gas tank before leaving and pack plenty of snacks and water for the trip!
If you or someone you know needs transportation assistance during a hurricane evacuation because they cannot drive or have no one else to assist them, dial 2-1-1 to register for a ride with the State of Texas Special Needs Registry. It’s important to register in advance and to renew your registration each year.
You can also register on the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR). This free registry provides local emergency planners and emergency responders with additional information on the needs of their community.
Plan your evacuation route ahead of time and decide where you will stay. When you have a child with a special health care need or disability that requires accessibility, you may need to make hotel reservations early. Download any of the free evacuation route maps and research hotels where you may end up.
By planning ahead, you can ensure you will have a place to stay. You can also find guides for traveling major highways using contraflow routes.
Being prepared can make the situation much less stressful and ensure the safety of your entire family. You can learn more about Emergency Preparedness for Families of Children with Disabilities on this site as well.
Living with a child who has mental health issues can come with a lot of unknowns just like having a child with physical health issues. But society can treat both children very differently.
I have two boys. One is 10 and the other is 8. Both of my kids have disability labels. One has a physical disability and the other has emotional and behavioral issues. One disability you can see, the other you don’t – but it is there.