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Access and Functional Needs

The American Red Cross has developed excellent information on emergency preparedness for seniors and people with disabilities.

Establish a Personal Support Network

A personal support network is made up of individuals who will check with you in an emergency to ensure you are O.K. and to give assistance if needed. This network can consist of friends, roommates, family members, relatives, personal attendants, co-workers and neighbors.

Personal assistance services (attendants) may not be available after a major quake. Therefore it is vital that your personal support network consist of different people than your personal attendants. If you employ a personal attendant or use the services of a home health agency or other type of in-home service, discuss with these people a plan for what you will do in case of an emergency. Start your emergency planning by establishing a Personal Support Network.

Even if you do not use a personal attendant, it is important to have a Personal Support Network to assist you in coping with an emergency. Do not depend on any one person. Work out support relationships with several individuals. Identify a minimum of three people at each location where you regularly spend significant time during the week: job, home, school, volunteer site, etc.

Personal Support Network Preparedness Checklist

Create an Emergency Plan

Review the Family Plan guidelines and use that information to determine what you will need to do for each type of emergency. For example, in a multi-story building, people with mobility limitations often will use an elevator for day-to-day activities, but during a fire, earthquake or other major emergency elevators will not be available. Determine in advance what alternatives are available and how they can work for you if you need to evacuate.         

Meet with household members or your personal care attendant. Discuss the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies that might occur in your community and how you will cope with the various hazards.

Conduct an "Ability Self-Assessment"

Evaluate your capabilities, limitations and needs, as well as your surroundings to determine what type of help you will need in an emergency.

Write instructions for the following--keep a copy with you and share a copy with your Personal Support Network:

Tips for Specific Disabilities

Obtain more detailed guidance on these specific disabilities at the Red Cross website.

Links to Partner Organizations for Additional Information

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