Effective Hurricane Preparedness Requires All of Us Working Together

People with disabilities and other people with access and functional needs have definite disadvantages in times of disaster.  However, the people who fail to prepare who are the ones who are most vulnerable in disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends the following steps be implemented to make sure all are prepared within our communities this upcoming hurricane season.

HurricaneEven though Hurricane Preparedness week has long since passed, there is still plenty of time to get ready for this upcoming storm season. When people with disabilities have a plan for disasters and are prepared, they are in a much better position to ensure that they have the best possible outcomes during and after a disaster such as a hurricane. Almost half of the population has access and functional needs, and the community needs to keep this percentage of the population in mind when planning for disasters. FEMA’s campaign, Be A Force of Nature, urges that people unite within their communities to help friends, family, coworkers and neighbors, with disabilities and otherwise, to make sure they’re prepared for the next severe weather event or hurricane.

The fact is for some communities, people with access/functional needs and those disabled are not guaranteed to be included in your city or town’s emergency preparedness plan. Whether or not you have a disability or know others who do, FEMA asks that you actively become more involved in your state, regional or local emergency management efforts. If this is done, everyone is working together to fulfill EVERYONE’S needs to create a fully prepared community. FEMA encourages all individuals in hurricane-prone areas to know your risk and make a pledge to prepare at www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

To learn more about FEMA’s efforts and how to prepare for severe weather and hurricanes, you can watch the YouTube video “Preparing for Disasters for People with Disabilities” or visit FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination website at http://www.fema.gov/about/odic.

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