I’ve been very lucky so far in this recent coronavirus crisis. I had made many preparations as part of my emergency preparedness plan. Because I was also assigned to develop a plan at my place of business, I had several years to decide what preparations I would need to get through.

Because of this, I had enough food, water, medicine, and comfort items to see me through. I am very blessed! I have tried to get others interested in prepping, but few people showed an interest. I spoke to a local networking group a couple of months ago, and afterward several of those attending told me I had scared them enough that the planned on going home and starting to make a plan for themselves. I sincerely hoped they weren’t joking.

You can bet when this crisis is over, I’ll be restocking my supplies in preparation for the next emergency. The world as we know it has changed, and I hope more people will change with it. Being prepared is something we cannot afford to ignore any longer. Please take the time now to note the items you wish you had during this present crisis. When you can, begin stocking up and preparing for the next emergency situation. Let’s all be ready next time!

I’m a Prepper from way back.  I don’t remember when I got started.  Perhaps when I moved back to Lower Michigan from the Upper Peninsula, but whenever it was, I began collecting items that I thought might help me be more comfortable if I ever had to evacuate to a public shelter.  After that, I thought about what I would need in order to shelter-at-home if I were ever directed to do so.

Today, I decided to go through my Go Kit and see what all I had in it. It’s pretty extensive after all these years, and this is the perfect time to check it out as I am sheltering-in-place at my sister’s home.  I was delighted to find several changes of clothes in the bag.  I packed a few things when the Governor said we would all have to remain at home for the next 3 weeks unless we provided essential services.  I was glad to find the extra clothing!  I also found things I’d placed in the Kit that I’d forgotten were in there – I have several “infection control” bags with a plastic apron, rubber gloves, antiseptic spray and hand-wash, and face masks. I may well need them if my sister or I get sick.

Then there were wet wipes, a deck of cards, a flashlight, and assorted other items I thought I might need.  It was sort of like having a little Christmas morning going on!  My sister and I oohed and aahed over the items and those we could use!  What fun, but more seriously, what a delight to have items I need now, or might need in the near future if either of us gets sick.

Along with noting which items were special for this type of emergency, I was able to think through, with a bit more clarity, what additional items I may want to put in my Kit, such as a good book that I haven’t read yet, another flashlight, pain reliever, and more antiseptic wipes.

Taking stock of my Go Kit was quite an experience.  It made me realize how much better it is to have to actually use the items in the Kit to get a sense of what’s important versus what is more frivolous.  Having a Kit at all puts me one step ahead of many people.  Let me encourage you at this time to start a list for yourself of the things you wish you had put away for a time like this (perhaps toilet paper would be first on your list!).  Good luck and stay well!

We are facing a possible pandemic in the U.S. from Coronavirus or COVID-19 as it is officially named. As a person with a disability, you may want to make some advanced preparations for responding to this threat.

The American Red Cross has recommendations for senior citizens and people with disabilities that you may want to consider. Think about the people you rely on for assistance during your daily routine. They may be friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers who might be willing to help out. Ask them to check on you to make sure you are okay, and offer assistance if needed. Make sure they can get into your house, and show them where you keep your emergency supplies. They should know where you keep your health information, as well as what your special needs might be if you become sick.

Do you need help with personal care? Do you use adaptive equipment? Will you need help with transportation if you need to go to the doctor at any point? Do you have assistive technology devices that would need to be transported with you? Will you need help getting groceries, medications or other supplies? Do you depend on a caregiver, and what will you do if that person gets sick?

Do you have a Survival Kit set up? Here are some suggestions for items to keep in your kit:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day. Have at least a 2-week supply on hand
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items. Again, enough for 2 weeks
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Lists of contact information for your health care providers including your pharmacy
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio. Make it a NOAA Weather radio, if possible
  • Extra batteries (don’t forget hearing aid batteries too if you use them)
  • Extra cash
  • A First-Aid kit
  • Medications (a week’s supply) and medical items
  • Copies of important paperwork such as medical records, birth certificates, insurance information, etc.
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items (especially hand-wash)
  • Medical supplies and things like an extra pair of glasses, syringes if you are diabetic, etc.
  • Surgical masks
  • Bleach
  • Electrolyte beverages
  • Aspirin, and/or Tylenol
  • Diarrhea medication
  • Cough syrup
  • An Emergency First Aid booklet

Consider your disability and what your special needs might be, then plan for how you’ll get by if those people you normally rely on aren’t available. Let’s take care of ourselves as much as possible and make sure we’re prepared for whatever COVID-19 throws at us!

As we hear more and more about the spread of the coronavirus, perhaps it is time to begin to make a plan for how you’ll respond should the virus become widespread.

Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan. Consider each of your family members and what their special needs might be. Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications.  Older adults and people with underlying chronic medical conditions may be at greater risk for more serious complications from the virus. Consult with your doctor for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms of COVID-19.

Know your resources and create an emergency contact list. List contact information of family, friends, neighbors, people who can help with transportation, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and community resources.

Get to know your neighbors. Talk with your neighbors about emergency planning. If your neighborhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to maintain access to neighbors, information, and resources.

Practice everyday preventive actions now.  Everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Panic won’t help, but precautions never hurt! Be prepared; start now.

Because it is so new, we know little about the coronavirus at this time. We know it seems to spread easily, and that it can cause death if the case is severe enough. Public officials are fearful that this will be the next pandemic to strike. Whether the coronavirus acts like the next plague or not, it doesn’t hurt to take some precautions and make some preparations before it hits.

  • Consider storing a two week supply of water and food in case you have to shelter-at-home.
  • Check your supply of prescription drugs to make sure you’ll have enough on hand to get through.
  • Keep nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
  • Get copies of your health records from your doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, electronically, for personal reference.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would like to be cared for.

Because the coronavirus is so new, we really aren’t sure what to expect should it get a foot-hold in the U.S. Having a plan for how to respond heightens peace of mind and provides a way of staying as safe as possible.

 

As a parent, you are responsible for keeping your children safe.  Have you given any thought to how they would fare if they were involved in a disaster while at school or away from home with friends?  How would you get in contact with them if the phone lines went down, or if your phone was out of commission?  How would you find them if you didn’t know where they were?  If you are at work and disaster strikes, how will they know you are alright?

Planning to keep our children safe while they are away from home is every bit as important as keeping them safe in the home.  Take the time to think about the situations that could arise and how you can ensure that your kids can get to you and know what to do to stay safe.

None of us wants to scare our children, but they should know that accidents and natural disasters can happen.  And, they should know what to do to get home or get help when needed.

If your child has a disability, it’s even more important you talk about this subject.  People with disabilities, regardless of age, fare much worse in disasters than people without disabilities.  If your child depends on assistive technology to get through the day, how will s/he manage if separated from that equipment?  If they depend on caregiver help, do you have backup caregivers you can rely on to help? Is there a service dog involved that your child depends on?

Please take the time to make a plan for your children and help them learn to keep themselves safe.  Plan for disaster; they may never need it, but even if they don’t, they’ll know you cared enough to do everything you could to keep them safe.

 

If you make an emergency preparedness plan for someone in your household with a disability, then I think you’re taking the most responsible path to ensuring their survival. While that may sound like I believe we are all destined to encounter some form of disaster in our lives, that’s not true. I just think that we all have the prospect of having an emergency come up, and it’s wise to be prepared as much as possible in case that happens.

I no longer have to worry about caring for elderly parents or an ailing husband. But, when it was my responsibility to see to their health and welfare, it made sense that I would have a plan for how to best care for them in emergency circumstances. I wanted a plan in place in case I ever needed it.

For instance, I worried long before I ever started getting involved in emergency preparedness planning how I would be able to care for my husband at an evacuation site given he had dementia. I would not be able to leave him alone even long enough to go to the bathroom for fear he’d wander away and get into trouble. I recognized that I would need to find a way to care for myself in an alternate setting as well as him. That proved somewhat of a challenge!

While it was a challenge to come up with a plan that would address these issues, it was worth it for the peace of mind it brought me. Knowing that I could keep him safe and take care of myself as well, was worth the headache of designing a plan.

Whatever challenges you are facing in designing your plan, I wish you the best as you begin to look at what kind of disaster could happen and how you could best survive it. I commend you for caring enough for your loved one and yourself to plan ahead. Good luck!

I recently asked a friend if his advanced preparedness plan addressed what would happen if a disaster occurred and he had to evacuate to a public site. “What’s important to you? What would you want to bring along and what might you need to make it easier to live at a public evacuation site with your disability?” His response surprised me. “The most important thing to me would be being able to bring my medications along and keep them safe.”

This is not something I’d thought about since my medications wouldn’t be much use to anyone besides me, yet someone might steal them if they thought it might make them high. If I didn’t have those meds it would certainly make life miserable! I medicate for restless leg syndrome and without them, I’m in dreadful discomfort. They wouldn’t make anyone else feel anything, but for me, it’s a matter of quality of life. I’d want to keep my meds safe too.

That made me think long and hard. How would you keep medications safe at a public site? You’d need to continue taking them on a regular schedule, but you wouldn’t be able to do that privately, although I guess you could slip into the restroom to take them. How could you keep prescription medications that others might want safe so you could take them when you needed them?

My first idea was that I’d have to keep them on me, but that’s not always the best idea either. If someone thought they were worth mugging me for, I’d be in trouble again. If I split them up and let someone else hold them, I’d want to be absolutely certain that I could find that person and have access to those meds when I needed them. And, I’d want to know that they would keep my meds safe at all times. That’s a lot to ask of anyone.

My friend and I decided we’d each keep part of the other’s drugs as we both appreciate how important it is to make sure they are safe. We’ll continue thinking about it and working to find better ways to keep our meds safe should we have to go to a public evacuation site for any length of time. I guess it only proves that we need to be thinking ahead how we’ll manage should the situation ever arise. What would you do?

I think it is very wise to make a plan for responding to disaster prior to learning the hard way that you need one. I had an emergency preparedness plan when fire struck. Even then, I found that there was so much I hadn’t thought about and wasn’t prepared to deal with. The problems continue a year after the fire occurred. I can imagine that it’s a similar situation for others who have survived different types of disaster.

My insurance company did everything they could to not pay. I had to come up with the money to rebuild using my 401k and saving every penny I could.   I found I could not trust anyone in authority to tell me the truth. I learned to double check everything anyone told me because people have their own agendas and they really don’t care what is going on with me or the problems I’m facing. They are only interested in their own problems and how they can make their own lives easier.

I also learned that there are wonderful people out there you don’t even know who are going to step up to help. People who will generously give of their time, talents, and financial support to help pull you out of the mire. It was amazing the goodness of people! It reestablished my faith in humanity.

I learned that everything I had done to prepare for disaster was only a drop in the bucket of what was needed, but it was such a blessing to have what I had. I was ever so grateful that I had a plan and that the things I planned for worked. This allowed me to feel I had some small amount of control over what was happening.

I learned other good things too, like how blessed I was to have extra food and water stored for an emergency. Also, how much it meant to have first aid items on hand to deal with the burns that showed up over a week after the fire.

I hope you never have to experience a disaster to appreciate what it is to have a plan, but I also pray you’ll take the time to think through what could happen and how you might survive if disaster did strike. I wish you well and I hope if disaster ever does befall you, you already have a plan and it saves you.

With all the publicity the flu is getting now, being prepared for wide-spread illness and having a plan for how you’ll survive a pandemic is a good idea. Ready.gov suggests that prior to finding a major illness is sweeping across the area, you may want to:

  • Keep a two week supply of water and food on hand.
  • Check your prescription drugs and make sure you have enough on hand to last you a couple of weeks in case you have to curtail your trips outside the home.
  • Check your supplies of nonprescription drugs to be sure you have enough. Pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medications, and fluids with electrolytes and vitamins are great to have on hand.
  • Keep copies of your health records from the doctor, your hospital, pharmacy and other sources and have them available too.
  • Think about what you might need to have on hand to care for your family members in your home, if necessary.

Once a pandemic strikes,

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you need to go out, keep some distance between yourself and others so you don’t contract anything.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze to prevent others from getting sick.
  • Wash your hands often. It is the single most effective way of preventing the spread of disease.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, stay physically active, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious foods.

Surviving a pandemic is possible. Know what to do to increase your chances of not getting sick.