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Monday, September 9, 2013

Preparing for Emergencies

Hurricanes, floods, fires, blizzards, earthquakes, ice storms, mud slides, power outages. They can strike fear in anyone. For those of us living with MS, they can seem overwhelming. But don’t panic. People with disabilities are often better at coping with emergencies than others. Living with MS every day teaches us how to handle the unexpected. With planning, we and our families and caregivers can feel confident.

Research resources in your area

Most communities have an emergency management agency or office. Look in the government section of your phone book—usually the blue pages—and contact it. This organization coordinates the traditional “first responders,” including fire and police departments, the American Red Cross, and others. Explain your special needs and find out what, if any, public preparations are in place (such as hurricane or tornado shelters).

Make escape plans

Everyone’s situation is unique, so every plan is unique. What will you need if:
  • An emergency is confined to one location (a house fire).
  • Affects the whole region (a blizzard).
  • Affects you uniquely because of MS (a heat wave or drought with water restrictions).
You are the key to a good plan because you know best what your abilities are when you are at your worst. And remember, the first time you try out your escape plans shouldn’t be an occasion when you need them.


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