Emergency preparedness is important for all families, but extra care must be taken for families which include children with special needs. There are several reputable websites that can advise families about their emergency tool kits, but there are a whole host of other considerations which must be based on the needs of the child and the type of disability involved. With a little planning, families can weather the storm intact.
Standard Home Emergency Preparedness
- Basic Disaster Supplies Kit (Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA))
- Emergency Preparedness Kit (Boy Scouts of America)
- First Aid Kit (American Red Cross)
- First Aid Kit (Boy Scouts of America)
- Preparing for a Weather Emergency (USDA)
Standard Vehicle Emergency Preparedness
- Emergency Roadside Kit (AAA) [LINK: ]
- Create Your Own Roadside Emergency Kit (Edmunds.com)
- Roadside Emergency Kits (Consumer Reports)
- Winter Travel: What to Carry in Your Car
- Winter Survival Kit
Considerations for Families with Special Needs Children
Families with special needs children must consider their unique situation when making emergency preparedness plans and kits. In particular, care should be taken to consider the following:
- Medicine and medical equipment: medicine and medical equipment (disposable gloves, machines, measuring spoons, etc…) should be kept as close together as practicable to allow families to collect them in case of an emergency.
- Food: special needs children may have different dietary requirements, or may be picky eaters. Their food needs should be considered.
- Comfort: it goes without saying that emergencies can be scary. Any toys, blankets or other objects which comfort children with special needs should be included in the family’s disaster kit.
- Transportation: are there any pieces of equipment (wheelchairs, orthotics, etc…) which are necessary for transportation and movement?
- Equipment: make sure to have a manual backup for any equipment that uses batteries or electricity.
- Electric Generators: much of the angst associated with routine “emergencies” can be avoided with a proper back-up generator. If families depend on medical equipment like ventilators, generators are imperative. You can find a good buying guide here for portable generators and home standby generators.
Some good emergency preparedness resources for families that include people with special needs include:
- Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs (American Red Cross)
- Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information for People with Disabilities (FEMA)
- Disaster Preparedness for Those With Special Needs
For More Information
- Support Groups, Medical Research and Charities
- Preventing Injury: Selecting a Doctor
- Section 504 Plans
- Internet Resources for Special Needs Children
- Individualized Education Plans (IEP)
- IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- Government Services for Children with Disabilities
- Government Benefits for Children with Disabilities