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Emergency Preparedness for Special Needs Children

What to have in place before a crisis

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Beyond food, water, flashlights, clothes and blankets, include as appropriated a two-week supply of all disposable medical supplies, two-week supply of all prescription and non-prescription medications, a generator or battery backup for medical equipment, copies of medical prescriptions, extra contact lenses or glasses, extra batteries for hearing aids and communication devices, special dietary foods, and manual wheelchairs and other necessary equipment.

Pack a kit for your car. Consider placing a pared down emergency kit to have on-hand in your car.

Decide where to meet. Set a specific location outside of the house where your family will meet in case of a fire. Select another location away from home should the disaster prevent family members from returning to the house.

Plan escape routes. Determine the best way out of your house. Likewise, discuss the safest places in your home to go during tornadoes and earthquakes. For tornadoes, seek shelter in a basement or in a small center room on the home's lowest level. Avoid windows. For earthquakes, locate safe places void of potentially falling objects. It's a good idea to bolt heavy furniture to wall studs and move heavy items to low shelves.

Involve kids in your plan. The more involved your kids are in making the family emergency plan, the more apt they will be to remember and follow through on the plan in the event of a crisis.

Identify support. The American Red Cross recommends families create a personal support network of people who can help you get the resources you need to cope effectively with an emergency situation. This can be a trusted neighbor, extended family member or friend. It can also be resources like 211 or Family Voices who can point you to health and human services in times of need.

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Tags: In This Issue, Special Needs

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