If you have special needs, emergency preparedness plan should be high priority

With flood risks about to increase quickly in parts of the Northern Plains, and with a spring and summer of weather warnings ahead, the need for emergency preparedness becomes more apparent.

That’s especially the case for people of all ages with disabilities or a variety of health and mobility challenges.

Charitable nonprofit NDAD has compiled a range of links to various sources that can help you, a family member or friend and others — caregivers and employers included — plan for disasters and other types of emergencies to minimize stress and threats to personal safety.

Or, use this information to help update your existing emergency plans.

The following links — some of them websites, others .pdf documents — provide a variety of information, some of it overlapping. Use the tips and advice that apply best for your particular circumstances. Don’t hesitate to share, discuss and shape your preparedness plans with others, too:

• A broad-ranging planning and preparation guide for people with special access and functional needs is provided by the federal government.

• The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has an information site that focuses on workplace emergency preparedness — something that can be overlooked in many plans.

• A “Just In Case” document from the National Family Caregiver Support Program helps the elderly and their caregivers plan ahead.

• The U.S. Centers for Disease Control have a special websitedevoted to emergency preparedness for people with disabilities and special needs, and it features a wide range of information.

Cover of FEMA / American Red Cross preparedness guide for people with disabilities and other special needs.

• FEMA and the American Red Cross joined forces to provide an extensive guide to help people with disabilities and special health or mobility challenges deal with a variety of emergency circumstances.

• A guide for first responders, produced by the University of New Mexico’s Center for Development and Disability, offers tips for a wide range of circumstances involving people with various disabilities, mobility and health challenges. They can help you prepare to assist first responders, too.

• Much useful information and guidance can be found at the state of North Dakota’s flood information website.

• Neighboring Minnesota has its own emergency preparedness site for people with disabilities.

• For families of children with special needs, the nonprofit Family Voices of North Dakota has compiled five informational documents that can help you be better prepared:

o A special emergency information form for children with special needs, created by the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

An emergency information form for children with disabilities and other special needs.

o An information document about disaster preparedness by the Florida Institute for Family Involvement.

o Family Values’ own document about disaster planning for families with special needs.

o A different Family Values document about keeping youth with special health care needs safe during disasters and other emergencies.

o A Family Voices brochure on how to plan for medical emergencies.

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