Over the past year, we’ve all been confronted with our fair share of emergencies and natural disasters. In what felt like an instant last spring, life shut down due to the coronavirus. People on the west coast were displaced by some of the worst wildfires in our nation’s history. This was the first year that we ran out of English names for hurricanes and actually had a storm from the Greek alphabet hit our shores.
2020 has certainly been a reminder to all of us that life can change in an instant. It also gave many of us the extra push we needed to create preparedness plans for our families. For some, that meant putting documents such as powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and wills in place so that life would be as easy as possible for their family if something happened.
Parents of children with special needs also realized the urgency this year of creating disability-specific emergency plans. It’s no secret that the shutdowns and nationwide emergencies were extremely hard for people with disabilities. Kids could not access basic services they needed, stores were closed, doctor visits were postponed, and medications got delayed in the mail. As a result, we’ve heard from many parents who are now putting together disability-specific emergency kits so that their loved one’s needs are met in a crisis.
If you have a loved one with special needs and you’d like to create a similar emergency kit, here are some suggestions for what to include:
- Photocopies of important documentation such as health insurance policies, ID cards, and medical alert information.
- Copies of all prescription drugs that your child takes and contact information for doctors and pharmacies in case you need an emergency refill.
- Extra batteries for medical devices such as hearing aids or breathing machines.
- A patch kit to repair tires on a wheelchair or scooter in an emergency.
- A two-week supply of medical care items such as needles, bandages,, etc.
- Cooler and ice packs for any medications that must be kept cold.
- Masks, blankets, and towels.
- A backup supply of special dietary foods.
- A lightweight manual wheelchair to use as a backup in the event a powerchair goes down.
- A “grab and go” bag of items that will keep your child calm —- such as toys that he or she likes or a favorite book.
- Extra food and supplies for service animals.
- A power adapter that can be plugged into the car for any electronic communication devices.
Finally, it’s a smart idea to identify local shelters that are equipped to house people with special needs in the event of a disaster. You can contact the Red Cross for further information at https://www.redcross.org/. We are also here to answer any questions you have about legal planning to ensure the future protection and security of your child. Please feel free to contact the Law Firm of Sheri R. Abrams at (571) 328-5795 to schedule an appointment.