People with Disabilities Also Need to Prepare for Emergencies (UC OH UCEDD)

September 2, 2015

Everyone needs to know what to do when facing emergencies like severe weather, fires and floods. But people with disabilities have extra concerns when it comes to staying safe.

UC UCEDD, as part of the Ohio Disability and Health Program, in partnership with the American Red Cross, offers Disaster & Preparedness Training for People with Disabilities & Their Caregivers, a daylong training session to explore individual needs, regional resources, and emergency preparedness. So far more than 200 people have received this potentially life-saving training.

The training has been given in Toledo, Columbus and Cincinnati, and it presents region-specific resources available to people with special needs in the event of a disaster - like shelters that are accessible to people with disabilities.

Other tips presented in the training include: creating disaster supply kits with medication and medical equipment for individual needs, carrying a flash drive with copies of scanned medical records, and having an evacuation plan with a meeting place outside the home.

"In the training, we talk a lot about communication. Communication breaks down in emergency situations and it's important to have a community for yourself so you don't have to face these situations alone," said Erica Coleman, UC UCEDD Health Activities Coordinator, and lead training facilitator.

Attendees expressed their appreciation for the training, sharing their own personal experiences and readiness. "The training was so good that unfortunately I now know that I am not prepared enough for a disaster. I have a lot of work to do and now I have the tools and knowledge to start," said one participant.

Attendees of the training also received a free Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Kit, which contained a first aid kit, weather radio, and emergency meal rations. They also received a "Ready Now" toolkit to create their own personal preparedness plan, since creating a plan is the first step to getting prepared.

The training leaves attendees with one final thought: "Preparation takes time. Trying to do this in one day can be overwhelming, but a little at a time can reduce the stress of getting prepared," said Erica.

Like UC UCEDD and the Ohio Disability and Health Program on Facebook to learn about upcoming training opportunities in our area.