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How to Navigate Hurricane Season with Medical Disabilities

Posted on 06/07/2021

Disaster planning is imperative, especially for those that are diagnosed with a medical disability. A 'disaster kit' will often contain basic survival supplies while also catering to your specific medical needs. Some examples of these particular items are outlined below:

People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing:

  • A weather radio that can display text or a flashing alert
  • Extra batteries for hearing aids
  • Paper and pen for communication with someone unfamiliar with sign language

People who are blind or have low vision:

  • Mark supplies in your disaster kit with braille or large print
  • Keep disability-specific communication devices included in your disaster supply kit

People with speech disabilities: 

  • If you use an augmentative communications device, plan how you will evacuate with the device and how you will replace the equipment if it is lost or destroyed. Also, keep the model information and where the equipment came from
  • Plan how to communicate with others if your equipment fails

People with mobility disabilities: 

  • If you use a motorized wheelchair, keep a manual wheelchair as a backup if possible 
  • Show others how to operate your wheelchair
  • Purchase an extra battery for your motorized wheelchair or battery-operated medical devices
  • Consider a patch kit or sealant for flat tires 

People with sensory disabilities (including autism spectrum disorder):

  • Handheld electronic devices
  • Extra chargers for these devices 
  • Headphones
  • Sheets or a small pop up tent to provide instant privacy and decrease visual stimulation
  • Comfort snacks

Additional items to have in your disaster supply kit include:

  • Seven days’ worth of medications
  • List of prescription medications, dosages, and allergies
  • Copies of medical insurance and important family documents
  • Contact information for family
  • Pet food if you are evacuating to a pet-friendly shelter

Information regarding the Florida Special Needs Registry can be found here: Home Page - Special Needs Registry (flhealthresponse.com)