For many of us, the loss is inconvenient, but not insurmountable. For persons with special needs, it could prove devastating and even life-threatening.
In the disaster world, a special need is any limitation on a person's ability to effectively handle and survive a crisis situation.
Special needs include, but are not limited to:
- Physical restrictions.
- Medical concerns.
- Communication abilities.
- Lack of transportation.
- Limited financial ability to evacuate or prepare for emergencies.
The Emergency Management Ontario and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, Canada have developed an excellent resource for persons with special needs to begin planning for and considering their unique situation in emergencies. The guide is available for download in seven (yes, seven!) languages (English, French, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Punjabi, and Spanish), and offers excellent tips and instructions for persons with special needs.
Download the guide here: http://www.emergencymanagementontario.ca/english/prepare/specialneeds/specialneeds.html
Additional Note: While full of excellent information, the resources listed in the guide are specific to residents of Ontario. For transportation and other special needs assistance in Texas, dial 2-1-1 from any touch-tone phone. This free phone call can help connect you to local services and organizations. In addition, download information from the Texas Department of Emergency Management at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/preparedness/e-prep_public.shtm