Emergency Preparation Tips

Recent Midwestern floods have many of us thinking about emergency preparations. Spring brings the start of severe weather season, so be ready before a thunderstorm, tornado or flood hits. Every type of home and workplace needs to plan in the event of a disaster, so takes steps now to be ready.

The Minnesota State Council on Disabilities has an excellent list of resources, including a detailed checklist, to help everyone prepare for disasters; at www.state.mn.us/portal/ Look on the home page for the heading “everybody needs a plan.”

The American Red Cross also reminds people with disabilities to take extra steps to be prepared before unforeseen problems. The Web site www.redcross.org has emergency preparedness information, and more detailed information for every type of disaster. The list ranges from power blackouts to winter storms.

It’s also time to plan ahead for situations that may keep you in a basement or safe area of your home. Put an emergency kit there now. This could include a supply of food and water, first aid kit, blankets, flashlights, battery or crank radios and a battery-operated television. Make sure you know where medications are so you can quickly grab them. If your home doesn’t have a basement or if it is difficult to get into the basement, know which windowless ground floor room you can take shelter.

Some items to remember for your emergency kit include:

• If you are blind or visually impaired, it’s good to have a Braille clock, talking clock or large-print timepiece available in your emergency kit. Make sure these items have new batteries installed.

• Keep an extra battery or batteries on hand for your wheelchair or other devices that need power.

• If you rely on a medical device or life support device that in turn relies on electricity, make sure your local power company knows that. Many power companies do keep information on file on persons whose health would be at risk due to a power outage. Contact the utility company’s customer service to see if it has such a program.

• If you are deaf or hearing-impaired, keep a portable, battery-operated television on hand. Use this to follow weather alerts through captioning.

Every household should have a NOAA weather radio. The radios can be programmed to alert you to severe weather in your area. The radios can be equipped to shake or vibrate a bed or pillow, or trigger a strobe light, to alert persons who cannot hear the radio. Ask at your local electronics retailer