In February, our home was struck by a tornado. We were not prepared for a storm that gave no advanced warning. Our plan required walking (running) past 12 feet of glass to make it to our safe place, an inner bathroom. By the time we made that run and got safely into the bathroom, the tornado had moved on. Thankfully, we were fine, though our house suffered major damage.
Hurricane Harvey provided us a new wakeup call in preparation for emergencies. Television coverage of elderly persons in flooded nursing homes left a lasting impression. Families standing waist-deep in dangerous floodwaters and stories of stranded persons with disabilities reminded me of the need for all of us to prepare for emergencies. When you have a child with a disability, that need is even greater. Here are a few ideas to get you started with planning for an emergency.
First, you should register with your state and local agencies. Texas has a program called State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry, or STEAR--you can find more information on the Texas Department of Public Safety site. Registration is voluntary.
The site explains who should register and provides forms for required information. All information is kept confidential. STEAR shares information with local agencies only. However, it does not guarantee you will receive a specific service during an emergency. You should also check with individual counties and cities for local emergency planning.
Next, prepare a home emergency kit. Basic supplies for a recommended three-day supply should include:
A more complete list can be found at the National Department of Homeland Security. Keep your supplies in a cool, dry place. Store items in tightly closed plastic or metal containers. Other things to consider are:
Check your supply often for expired items and replace as needed.
Finally, prepare like your life depends on it. The worst that can happen is you will not ever need to implement your plan. However, preparation can help your family survive a Texas emergency.
This video provides information on how to prepare for an emergency. Additional information is provided in the Family Support section on emergency preparedness for families of children with disabilities
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.