Natural disasters can present additional challenges to individuals with disabilities

Maryland

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — September is National Preparedness Month and Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management is highlighting the importance of preparation for at-risk populations.

Natural disasters can impact many people but for those who have a disability, these disasters can present additional challenges. Experts say it is crucial for at-risk populations to plan ahead for emergencies.

According to the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management, at-risk populations include individuals who are physically or mentally disabled i.e blind, deaf, hard-of-hearing, have learning disabilities, mental illness, or mobility.

Individuals with limited English language skills, geographically or culturally isolated individuals, homeless individuals, senior citizens, and children, are also qualified as at-risk populations because they often need someone to advocate for them.

Experts suggest at-risk populations are 2-4 times more likely to be injured or die in an emergency or disaster due to a lack of planning, accessibility, and accommodation.

Disasters can happen at any time so it is important for those with limitations to be taken care of. If you caring for someone with a disability experts advise you to speak with medical professionals to come up with the best plan. 

“Building a kit is important. You should include special medications, assistive technology, or wheelchairs, essentially include anything you need to care for your loved one. You should also get involved, taking some additional training can help you prepare and come up with an effective plan,” said Jim Krempel, Office of Emergency Management, Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator.

Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management also says it is important for caregivers to plan ahead and make sure medications are always filled. It is also helpful to seek additional support from friends and families

 

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