Tip: 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.