Special Needs present Emergency Challenges

For any of our citizens who have physical, medical, sensory, or cognitive special needs, an emergency can present an added challenge. That same challenge applies to the elderly or the very young. If you, or someone you know, face these challenges, a little preplanning can be a big asset.

Local officials and response workers will be on the scene of an emergency, but they will be unable to reach everyone who has special needs immediately. Therefore, a plan that includes your functional abilities and possible special needs is essential. Preparing in advance, with your family and care attendants will produce the best results. If you have a special need to be addressed, you will need to do two things.

First of all, create a personal support network…sometimes called a self-help team….to help you prepare for a disaster. Their job will be to help you identify the potential problems and find ways to solve those problems. They can also be there when the actual disaster happens. Be sure you have a network of people who are involved in all aspects of your life…wherever you spend lots of your time. Additionally, chose persons who are reliable and trustworthy. and who know and fully understand your capabilities and needs. Make certain you have more than one person in that network.

Secondly, complete a personal assessment specifically with regards to a potential emergency. Think about what assistance you may need before, during, and after a disaster. Make a list….and on that list decide what resources you will need and how you will get them in a disaster.

Think about these things. How will your daily living be affected? Do you need special care for bathing and grooming? Do you need special personal care equipment, like a shower chair? Do you need special utensils to prepare or eat food independently? Do you need electricity to run your wheelchair? Do you have a back-up supply of power? Who will help you get these things? How will you cope with debris in your planned exit route? Do you need special transportation if you are asked to evacuate?

As you address each of these issues, if would also be prudent to let the City know of your needs. A list, a completely volunteer list of people who have special needs and wish for the City to be aware of those needs will be compiled. If you would like to be on that list call the Cordova Volunteer Fire Department @ 424-6117 or call Joanie @ 424-5773. We would like to know how we could help you in a disaster. You still need to make your own plan…but at least we would know you might need extra help.

Be prudent. Be ready. Be prepared.