People with Additional Preparedness Needs
For those British Columbians who have physical, medical, sensory or cognitive disabilities, planning and preparing for emergencies and natural disasters can present additional challenges. Similar challenges may also apply to elderly people and populations that have specific needs. Reaching out to those in your lives who may need extra assistance - whether they are family, friends or neighbours - will go a long way in helping them plan for an emergency.
Know the Risks
Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and wildfires are just some of the potential hazards in B.C. Familiarize yourself and those in your life who need extra assistance with the hazards that could occur in your community.
Have a Plan
A solid emergency plan can alleviate stress during disasters and increase the odds that people with unique needs will remain safe. All basic plans should include a strategy for communicating after a disaster, including designated meeting places if applicable.
Personal Support Network
Most importantly, take the time to create a trusted support network of at least three people to assist during an emergency. Give them keys and add their contact information to a shared emergency plan. The support network should also be advised of any health conditions or medications and shown how to operate specialized medical or mobility equipment, such as lifts, wheelchairs or scooters.
Get a Kit
An emergency kit should include a minimum three-day supply of food, water and basic necessities. Make it as portable as possible and store it in an easily accessible spot. Another option is to create two kits – a bigger one for sheltering in place and a smaller, grab-and-go version. Whatever you choose, just make sure your support network knows where they’re kept.
Depending on the situation, you may also need to include:
- A three-day minimum supply of food that meets special dietary requirements
- A two-week supply of prescription medications. If that’s not possible, ensure a copy of the prescription, with the recommended dosage and prescribing doctor, is included
- A whistle or personal alarm to call for help
- Written instructions for special medical or mobility equipment in case members of your support network aren’t immediately available
- A patch kit or can of seal-in-air product to repair flat tires on scooters or wheelchairs. A pair of heavy gloves is also a good idea to protect hands when wheeling over glass and other sharp debris
- A spare deep-cycle battery for a motorized wheelchair or scooter
- Extra eye glasses, hearing aids and hearing aid batteries
- Pen and paper for communicating
- Spare footwear with any special orthotics
Guide and Service Animals
Some people rely on animals for assistance. That means preparing for them as well. Create a separate emergency kit with the following items:
- Three-day supply of bottled water and pet food
- Leash and collar, kennel or carrier
- Necessary medications with contact information for the prescribing vet
- Copies of vaccination records
- A recent photo in case your are separated from your service animal
- Secure bookcases, TVs and heavy furniture if you leave in an area at risk of earthquake. This will prevent injury and ensure evacuation routes from a house or apartment are kept clear
- Ensure mobility devices will always be parked in easily accessible places for quick evacuations
- Disability Alliance BC
- Emergency Preparedness Guide for people with disabilities or special needs (PDF), Public Safety Canada
- Preparedness Information for Seniors, Ready.gov
- Disaster Preparedness: For Seniors By Seniors (PDF), RedCross.org
- Preparedness for Older Adults & Their Caregivers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention