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Disaster-Preparedness Tips for People With Disabilities

WEDNESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- People with disabilities need to be prepared to quickly escape their homes in the event of emergencies such as fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, a Mayo Clinic expert says.

Preparations for people with disabilities are more complicated than those for able-bodied people.

"As we learned during Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, persons with disabilities need to consider a number of different factors, such as identifying who is in their support system, special transportation needs and what supplies to include in their emergency-preparedness kits," clinical nurse specialist Lisa Beck said in a Mayo news release.

Beck worked with disabled patients to design patient-education materials, and she offers the following tips for people with disabilities:

  • Practice getting out of the house quickly at least twice a year.
  • Discuss any special needs with a local emergency-medical-services provider.
  • Plan where to go for shelter and how to get there, and who may need to provide you with assistance.
  • Compile an emergency-preparedness kit that can last 24 to 48 hours. It should include items such as medication lists, contact numbers, medications, catheter supplies and a first-aid kit.
  • Think about shelter and supplies for your service animal.

More information

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has more about emergency planning and preparedness for people with special needs.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, May 30, 2012

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