Storm Preparation for Family Members with Special Needs

Keep these considerations in mind when making plans for your loved ones who have special needs:

HOME HEALTH CARE AND HOME BOUND LIFE-SUPPORT PATIENTS

Notify your health agency where you will be during a hurricane and when care can be re-established. Contact your physician if you are homebound and under the care of a physician, but not a home health agency. If you require respirators or other electric dependent medical equipment, you should make prior medical arrangements with your physician.

If you require oxygen, check with your supplier about emergency plans. If you evacuate,remember to take medications, writteninstructions regarding your care, your walker,wheel chair, cane or special equipment, along with your bedding.

If you do not evacuate, keep a list of the names and phone numbers of friends or family, so
you can make quick arrangements to stay with them in the event of a power interruption. Also, locate the nearest hospital that can help provide emergency power for your life support equipment.

Remember that although KUA does give priority to life support customers during isolated electric outages, during a time of a widespread outage from a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, it is often impossible to give priority because of the extent of damage and the order in which power must be restored.

CARING FOR THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS AT HOME

Some disabled and elderly citizens may have special needs that hinder them from beingable to leave their homes during emergencies.

Government and emergency personnel recognize the needs of this segment of the population. However, due to their increasing numbers, it is almost impossible to provide aid for everyone. You can be a part of a care program to offer assistance to those family members who are cannot help themselves by: • Educating and physically helping them prepare their homes and property for emergencies such as hurricanes.

• Helping them shop for their necessary supplies.

• Helping them create and post their “Family Disaster Plan Checklist” in a visible location as a reminder to them and others.

SPECIAL NEEDS FAMILY MEMBERS IN NURSING HOMES

Special needs family members in nursing homes also need assistance in preparing for disasters. You can ensure the safety of your family members by inquiring if their health care providers are adequately prepared for disaster or emergency situations. These agencies should have the following:

• A disaster plan that is reviewed annually by administration and staff.

• Policies that provide for in-house emergency preparedness training for employees.

• Identification procedures for patients, such as bands or cards that indicate names, ages, medical conditions and current medications.

• Transportation services for evacuations that are renewed annually.

• Agreements with other health care providers that are renewed annually.

• A list of items that will accompany him/ her if your special needs family member is evacuated, including an adequate supply of medications and special foods.

• Maps with evacuation routes highlighted.

• Transfer forms readily available authorizing admissions into hospital facilities if necessary.

• A list of friends and family members who have agreed to help in emergency situations. The best and safest arrangements for special needs family members may be to bring them with you when you evacuate.

Residents with disabilities, medical problems or mobility problems who may need transportation assistance or disaster shelter during an emergency can register with their city or county Special Needs Program.