It’s no secret last summer’s bushfires and floods caught many of us off guard. While natural disasters are common in Queensland, it can be shocking and scary for anyone, to have their lives turned upside down suddenly.
For vulnerable citizens, like those with a disability or who are older, emergency situations can be particularly scary.
The Queensland Government report that those with a disability are twice as likely as others to be injured or cut off from essential services in an emergency. However, with adequate planning and preparation, this risk can be reduced.
If you, or a loved one, live with a disability, or if you care for someone vulnerable, being emergency-ready is particularly important, but it also takes a little extra planning.
At Focused Health Care we want to make sure you receive the support and empowerment you need to help yourself and your loved ones stay safe before, during, and after an emergency.
Here we have put together a list of advice, tips, and strategies so that you can understand the dangers, make a plan and keep safe in any event.
Know the risk
The first step to preparing for natural disasters is knowing the risk in your area.
Where you live, and where you travel impacts the type of natural disasters you may experience.
For example, those on the north coast of Queensland should be prepared for cyclones. Those in dry, bushy areas should prepare for fires. If you live near water or in a low-lying area you should be prepared for flooding. Disasters such as major storms, pandemics, and heat waves can strike anywhere.
Once you know the risks in your area, you can prepare for them.
Make a plan
If a disaster happened in your area, you could be evacuated from your home, or you could be on your own for several days.
It is a good idea to prepare a kit with everything you and your family may need if you couldn’t get to the shop, pharmacy, or medical facilities.
Your kit should include:
- Food and water for 3-5 days
- First aid supplies
- Copies of important documents
- Battery powered radio
- A list of emergency contacts
You may also consider:
- have an emergency supply of your medications available in case you can’t get to the pharmacy or need to be evacuated from your home.
- A list of medications, dosages, frequency, and allergies could be helpful.
- If you have medications that need refrigeration, prepare a cooler with ice packs.
- Assistive devices-
- If you use a powered wheelchair, having a lightweight manual chair may be easier, in the event of an evacuation. Show several members of your family and even neighbours how to assemble and disassemble your mobility aids and where they are kept.
- Make sure you have backup batteries for all assistive devices and always keep them charged.
- Consider having a patch kit, spare inner tubes, and a tyre pump for wheelchair tires.
- Keep spare items such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, and batteries, oxygen cylinders, anything you may need on a day-to-day basis.
- Communicate your needs with family and neighbours who may be able to help you in an emergency.
- For those who are Deaf-
- Consider preparing a pen and paper, in case you need to communicate with someone who doesn’t know sign language.
- Ensure you have a torch and extra batteries to ensure you can see in the event you need to lip read or use sign language in low light/without electricity.
- For those who have intellectual disabilities-
- Consider travelling with a small pop-up tent or noise-cancelling headphones to reduce stimulation/overwhelm in busy evacuation centres.
- Pack comfort snacks
- For service pets-
- Carry a small container of pet food and an extra bottle of water
- Ensure your animal has an ID collar and lead
For resources and more information on preparing yourself and your family for a disaster, particularly for those with additional needs, check out the Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction toolkit.
If you need help preparing for emergency situations, the team at Focused Health Care is here for you. Get in touch with our team.
Give us a call on 1300 201 351 or email firstname.lastname@example.org