Everyone, but especially those caring for children with disabilities, should make plans to deal with weather-related or other emergencies that leave your home without electricity, gas or water. In Texas, we could be affected by tornados, hurricanes, or wildfire, just to name a few.
In emergencies, there are two basic responses: evacuate, or shelter-in-place. As a parent of a child with a disability, it’s especially important to have a plan for each.
If you have to evacuate, everyone in your family should know the exit plan and where to meet. Physical obstacles for a child with a disability either need to be removed or positioned so they can be moved. If you have to take shelter in the place where you are, make sure you have all the necessary equipment and medicine on hand and readily available.
During an evacuation, 2-1-1 has the most current news on evacuation routes and shelters. Call 2-1-1 to find medical and social services in your area.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) offers TexasPrepares.org, a comprehensive emergency planning website, with forms to create your plans, guides for practicing them, video tutorials and much more. The Planning for Children page is a good place to get started.
Download Emergency and Disaster Planning for Children with Special Health Care Needs (PDF). Also from DSHS, this detailed bilingual document includes checklists for things to do and items to have on hand during an emergency. It includes an emergency form to fill out with your physician to keep with your child. This can help first responders in case your child needs rescue.
Individuals with Disabilities or Access and Functional Needs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is another comprehensive emergency planning guide for families of persons with disabilities.