HOW TO PREPARE FOR DISASTER
For the millions of Americans who have physical, medical, sensory or cognitive disabilities, emergencies such as fires, floods and acts of terrorism present a real challenge. The same challenge also applies to the elderly and other special needs populations. Protecting yourself ahead. Developing a method for easy evacuation, making an emergency plan, a list of your basic disaster supplies kit, and maintaining your plan is vital.
METHODS FOR EASY EVACUATION
Contacting your local emergency management office or American Red Cross to gather any information you will need to create a plan. Question them on hazards within the community such as hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes. Learn about community response plans, evacuation plans and designated emergency shelters. Find out how local authorities will warn you of a pending disaster and how they will provide information to you during and after a disaster. Also, ask about special assistance programs available in the event of an emergency.
MAKE AN EMERGENCY PLAN
Because a disaster can disrupt your primary emergency plan, it is also important for you to develop a back-up plan to ensure your safety. The steps you should take to making an emergency plan includes meeting with your family/personal care attendants/building, choosing an "out-of-town" contact, deciding where to meet, completing a communication plan, and developing escape routes and safe places.
DISASTER SUPPLY KIT
A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items a family would probably need to stay safe and be more comfortable during and after a disaster. Disaster supplies kit items should be stored in a portable container as close as possible to the exit door. Some items may include a coat, sturdy shoes, hat, scarf, sleeping bag, flashlight, bottled water, non-perishable foods, and cash. Being prepared for a disaster is always a good idea.
MAINTAIN YOUR PLAN
Maintaining your plan is important! You should review your plan every six months and quiz your family about what to do. Conducting fire and emergency evacuation drills on a regular basis with your family will ensure that you’ll know exactly what to do when disaster strikes. Be sure to check on your food supplies for expiration dates and discard or replace stored water and food every six months. Check to see if you have a fire extinguisher and fire alarms within your house! If not, look into purchasing one. A fire alarm will notify you when a fire starts within your house and a fire extinguisher will play the part in putting out the fire. Be sure to read the indicator on your fire extinguisher and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to recharge. Test your smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Replace alarms every 10 years.
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During the winter months, it is important that people with disabilities are educated on what to do when snow comes. People with disabilities may want to take extra care during the cold weather season. Some disabling conditions may limit sensory abilities and the ability to maintain body heat, so be particularly vigilant about staying warm when you are out in low temperatures. Below are a few tips that may help you out.
If you travel in a wheel chair, wrap a small blanket around your legs, tucking it underneath yourself or around your sides. This will help to maintain body heat. Wheelchair users may consider purchasing pneumatic tires for better traction. Another alternative is to use standard bicycle tires. Use table salt or clay cat litter to clear ramps—rock salt can poison working assistance animals and also may be slippery. Remove tires from your wheelchair and shake debris and ice off them before placing them in your vehicle. Wipe down any metal surfaces as soon as possible after returning home. This will prevent rusting. If you are a wheelchair user and unaccustomed to heavy, strenuous wheeling, be very careful when traveling through snow. The added exertion could lead to a heart attack, or stroke. Freezing rain also will stick to surfaces such as canes, walkers, forearm cuffs and wheelchairs. Use gripper driving gloves to keep your hands warm and to prevent slipping. If you use a working assistance dog, remember that dogs also can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. Get a dog coat to place under the harness, and consider getting boots for the paws. Also, have a blanket in your vehicle for the benefit of your dog. Being prepared for the winter months is vital and beneficial.
THE IMPORTANCE OF AN ACCURATE COUNT
Once a decade, the Census Bureau fulfills a constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the United States. The decennial census is the largest peacetime mobilization undertaken by the federal government, culminating in a collection of data vital to the U.S. social, political, and economic systems. How congressional seats are reallocated to U.S. states, where the boundaries of legislative, school, and voting, precincts are drawn, and whether more than $800 billion annually in federal funds will be fairly distributed all depend on a fair and accurate decennial count. Communities and groups that are under counted do not get their fair share of political representation of federal funding.The census bureau has identified people with disabilities as a hard-to-count population, which means they are at a greater risk of being under counted in the census. The reasons for this include accessibility challenges and wider systematic inequalities. People with disabilities are also over represented among other groups that are considered hard-to-count, such as people of color, people with low incomes, and people experiencing homelessness.Currently, 61 million adults in the United States live with a disability. A fair and accurate decennial census is vital for people with disabilities-- and, indeed, for every person in the United States. The Census Bureau, its partners, and other stakeholders can and must take steps to help ensure a fair and accurate count of people with disabilities in the 2020 Census.
PARTICIPATING IN THE 2020 CENSUS
The Census Bureau will begin inviting people to participate in the 2020 Census in March of 2020. Most households will receive an invitation in the mail to self-respond online. Households will be able to complete their census forms online using either a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone. These respondents will also have the options to respond by phone or by mail. Every household that does not self-respond either online, by mail, or by phone will receive reminders from the Census Bureau. Census enumerators, also referred to as census takers, will visit all households that did not self-respond to collect responses in person. Those living in group living situations, such as skilled nursing homes or college dorms, will be counted in a separate operation called the Group Quarters enumeration. The census bureau has indicated that every self-response mode in 2020 will be fully accessible.
With many illnesses, other adults and people with disabilities face higher risks of contracting the disease and/or experiencing complications, particularly if they also have a chronic medical conditions. Consequently, there often are additional prevention and treatment recommendations for these populations. The recommendations for older adults and people with disabilities are the same as the guidance for the population as a whole. At this time, CDC recommends that everyone, regardless of age or disability, take the same precautions to avoid illness. These include the following every day preventive actions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory diseases, including colds and flu: