Category Archives: Safety - Grandparent Autism Network

Preparing Your Home
  • Add locks for security or to limit access to potentially dangerous areas.  Safety locks may be needed on bathroom, kitchen and laundry room cabinets.  Cover over electrical outlets and limit access to electrical appliances.
  • Provide gates or barriers to prevent falling down steps or to limit access to certain areas.
  • Arrange furniture simply and practically.  Clear table surfaces, provide appropriate chairs, and move furniture away from shelves or where a child may climb.
  • If your grandchild is at high risk for running away (also referred to as “eloping”), place locks or alarms on exterior doors and windows that provide exits from the home. Contact the local police and fire departments and provide them with a photo and description of the child in addition to contact information for family members.
Plan for Needed Evacuations
  • Discuss your child’s disabling condition with your pediatrician to determine what you need to have on hand for an evacuation
  • Pre-determine where you will evacuate to and how you will get there. Bear in mind that roads may be blocked so you may need several alternate routes. Additionally, public transportation may not be functioning, so if you don’t have a vehicle have standing arrangements with someone who does.
  • Remember if you will be relying on a car, you may need to store some extra gasoline in a safe location as gas stations may be without electric and unable to pump gas. Also, be certain to try and keep the tanks on all your vehicles topped off.
  • Even if you were planning to remain at home, if the local police order an emergency evacuation of all homes, leave right away. Make certain that everyone is wearing protective clothing and shoes appropriate for the weather and that they have a first aid kit, ID, and some money with them. Leave a note in your house indicating when you left, and where you are going in case anyone comes looking for you. Call your family members and let them know where you are going and your anticipated route. Take your emergency supplies with you (these should be pre packed in your vehicle)
  • Practice quickly loading the car with your emergency kit and driving at least part of your evacuation route. This is particularly important because special needs children have more difficult with transitions than other children. They need all of these activities to be part of their normal routine so they don’t freeze or act out when an emergency does arise.
  • To help your special needs child understand the types of emergencies that might arise in your geographic region, it is a good idea to get a selection of books that relate to children their age who successfully made it through similar disasters. You might also be able to find some good videos with a similar theme. Making the “crisis” more familiar.  The preparation routine, will increase the likelihood of your child adapting to the situation when needed.
  • Make sure your grandchild is wearing identification. Attach it to the back of his shirt with a pin, clip it on shoelaces or write it on his arm with a marker. Include the child’s name, diagnosis and your cell number. Indicate what the child may need to keep him safe and calm until you are reunited.  Be sure you have a recent photo of the child and your own identification information to show police in case the child is lost.
Emergency Preparedness for People with Special Needs

Special needs children may require additional support in the event of a crisis. So, whether you live in hurricane, tornado or fire or earthquake zones here are some important things to consider. Basically your family needs to have a shelter at home kit prepared and an evacuation kit prepared. Both of these need to be easily accessible. Make the decision ahead of time whether you will stay at home, evacuate to a safer environment or go to a Public or Special Needs Shelter. When preparing your emergency kit besides food, water, and clothing sufficient to last a two week period, you will need to bring your child’s medical and educational equipment. Here are some of the things you will want to include:

  • Personal and medical identification (for children dog tags or medi-alert bracelets are a good choice (this goes for nondisabled children too, who could be rendered unconscious in a catastrophe).
  • Personal, medical and school records including a list of all physicians and medications
  • Special items such as wheelchairs, feeding/IV pumps and related supplies, nebulizer machines and related supplies, special foods/formulas, computers with rehab programs, portable neurofeedback equipment
  • Blanket, pillow, folding chair, cot, sleeping bags for each member of the family
  • Favorite books, toys, DVD players with DVD.s
  • Pet and pet cage, leash , water and food bowls and their food
  • Personal hygiene items such as towels, washcloths, toothbrush, toothpaste, diapers, bed pads, special care cleansers, soaps and creams
  • The original or yellow copy of a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order, if you have one
  • Health Care proxy stipulating who can make decisions for your child if you are incapacitated in a crisis (Also send a copy of this to the named health care proxy)
  • Temporary guardianship papers indicating who will care for your child if you are injured or killed – be certain these papers include all necessary contact information, and are notarized. (Also send a copy of thee to the named emergency guardian)
  • Photos of familiar people that may be calming to your child
  • An Ipod or MP3 player with music that soothes your child
  • Map of area and important phone numbers
  • Signal flare and flashlights
  • Three gallons of water per person
  • Paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
  • Manual can opener
  • toiletries – including 14 days supply of prescription medications and hand sanitizer
  • Cell phone with batteries and charger
  • Change of clothing, rain gear, sturdy shoes for each family member
  • In a waterproof container: battery-powered portable radio, flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual and prescription medications
  • Credit card and cash. You might even want to put some cash or a prepaid debit card in your child’s back pack in case they were every separated from you in an emergency. A cell phone with a GPS chip is also a good idea for the same reason.
  • Extra Set of car keys, house keys and office keys.
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses
  • Matches in a waterproof container.