SPRINGFIELD – While every home should have a disaster preparedness kit and family communications plan, emergency preparedness is even more critical for households with members who have disabilities, functional needs or may need assistance during an emergency.
Throughout April, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will highlight the importance of disaster preparedness for people with functional needs as part of its 2013 preparedness campaign.
“An ice storm, tornado or other disaster can leave people without power, heat or water for several days,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “For those who may need some type of assistance, these conditions can be even more dangerous if they aren’t prepared.”
Monken said the Ready Illinois website offers a guidebook with preparedness tips for people with visual, cognitive or mobility impairments; people who are deaf or hard of hearing; those who utilize service animals or life support systems; and senior citizens. The guide, Emergency Preparedness Tips for Those with Functional Needs, is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
For each functional need, the guidebook provides a list of supplemental items for a disaster kit, tips on developing an emergency plan, suggestions on how to be better informed about community emergency planning and a checklist of preparedness activities.
In addition, the booklet contains a list of items for a standard disaster kit, a cut-out health information card, contact information for agencies providing services to people with functional needs and a copy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and American Red Cross guide, Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and Other Special Needs.