Hurricane season commenced June 1st. How do we prepare during the pandemic? If you’re a user of assistive technology (AT), consider these 9 tips:
One. Evacuate Before It Is Mandatory
If you are in the path of a hurricane, get out as soon as evacuation is recommended. Hurricanes, unlike floods and fires, are advance-notice events. Take advantage of the warning. Shelter space may be limited because of the need for social distancing. People with disabilities are at risk of being diverted to nursing homes. An accessible weather radio can help you keep up with warnings and instructions from authorities.
Two. Identify Who Will Help You Evacuate
Consider more than one support person in case your primary support person becomes ill or unavailable.
Plan now with friends and family where you can go to get out of the way of a hurricane’s path. Have backup locations should your first option not be available due to Covid-19 or another reason. Avoid plans to use a public shelter if you have any other options. Shelters will be screening people for Covid-19 symptoms. You could end up in a quarantine environment that’s not desirable for your needs.
Five. Consider Your Needs While Staying With Friends Or Family
Will you need a bath chair, grab bars, transfer bench or adapted eating utensils? Can you store an extra set of these items in their homes?
Six. Consider Your Powered Equipment
Do you have backup batteries, car or solar charges for your AT? Can you evacuate or shelter in place with non-powered alternatives in case you lose access to power? Consider acquiring a lightweight manual wheelchair for evacuation purposes and a laminated “low-tech” communication board if you use a communication device. Your state may have a reuse program that can provide back-up durable medical equipment at no or low cost. Find your state’s device reutilization program.
Seven. Email Yourself Your AT Information (Now!)
Keep information about your AT available in the cloud. Consider emailing yourself your device make and model number; how it was obtained (Medicaid, private insurance, personal pay), where you purchased it, any other important information should you need to replace your AT unexpectedly. Create a subject line you can search and find in the future.
Eight. Plan Your Shelter Stay
If your only option is a public shelter, contact your local emergency management office in advance of any emergency. Discuss your needs with them to make sure the shelter can accommodate you. Shelter locations and capacities may be different during the pandemic because of social distancing requirements.
Nine. If You Intend To Just Stay Home…
Don’t, if at all possible (unless advised by authorities). If you do shelter in place, remember power outages may last much longer because of limited utility personnel due to the pandemic. Stock up on water, food, medications, and backup power options such as charged batteries and a generator. You’ll still need to prepare for an emergency evacuation, so don’t neglect to prepare a go-kit and the additional recommendations listed here.
The AT3 Center, the Association of AT Act Programs (ATAP), and the Administration on Community Living (ACL) make no endorsement, representation, or warranty expressed or implied for any product, device, or information set forth in this blog. The AT3 Center, ATAP, and ACL have not examined, reviewed, or tested any product or device hereto referred.
The Assistive Technology Act Training and Technical Assistance Center(AT3/AT3 Center) is a project funded under grant award # 90ATTA0001 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living (ACL). AT3 provides technical assistance and supports to State Assistive Technology (AT) Programs funded under Section 4 of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended (P.L. 108-364). The AT3 Center is a sponsored project of the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP) The information on this website does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of ACL, and no official endorsement should be inferred.
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