Frequently Asked Questions

Preparing

1.1 Is there a registry for people with disabilities for emergency responses?
1.2 How can I find out about emergency route(s) used in the community?
1.3 What medical information should I have on hand for emergencies?
1.4 How do I prepare a Simple Medication List?
1.5 What information does a person need to include about durable medical equipment (DME) in a disaster go-bag?
1.6 I receive regular services/ treatments are there plans I should make in case of emergency?
1.7 How do I plan for in-home health care or meal services during emergencies?
1.8 How do I prepare for electrical outages affecting my medical equipment?
1.9 Where is the safest place for oxygen equipment shut off switch?
1.10 Should I shut off my utilities during a disaster?
1.11 What other safe water sources in a home, can be utilized in emergency situations?
1.12 Do they have smoke alarms for people with disabilities?

Shelter

2.1 Can an individual stay in the shelter without personal care aides?
2.2 Can I bring a service animal to the shelter?
2.3 Does a service animal need a go-bag?
2.4 Will the shelter provide food and water for a service animal?
2.5 Does the owner of the service animal have to pay for its care in the shelter?
2.6 Can I request an American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter in the shelter?
2.7 Will the emergency personnel provide an orientation and way finding assistance to people who are blind or who have low vision?
2.8 Will the shelter provide a low-stimulation “stress-relief zone”?
2.9 Can I receive durable medical equipment (DME) and medication in the shelter?
2.10 Will I have access to electricity for oxygen, or other life sustaining equipment in the shelter?
2.11 Can I ask for shower or bathroom transferring assistance while in the shelter?


Preparing

1.1) Is there a registry for people with disabilities for emergency responses?
Some local emergency management offices maintain registers of people with disabilities so you can be located and assisted quickly in a disaster. Contact your local emergency management agency to see if these services exist where you live or visit www.ready.gov to find links to government offices in your area.

For example, in the State of Texas there is a Transportation Assistance Registry for help evacuating in emergencies. Look to see if there are services such as this provided in your community.

In addition, wearing medical alert tags or bracelets that identify your disability can be a crucial aid in an emergency situation. When traveling, consider alerting hotel or motel workers if you will need help in a disaster situation.

1.2) How can I find out about emergency route(s) used in the community?
Contact the county emergency manager for emergency routes used in the community. Also, practice usage of these routes for familiarity of the escape route.

1.3) What medical information should I have on hand for emergencies?
Keep a copy of the doctor’s name, telephone number, and all prescription medication names, dosage, and the frequency of each medication for emergency medical conditions. If you take medicine or use a medical treatment on a daily basis, be sure you have what you need on hand to make it on your own for at least a week.

You should also keep a copy of your prescriptions as well as dosage or treatment information. If it is not possible to have a week-long supply of medicines and supplies, keep as much on hand as possible and talk to your pharmacist or doctor about what else you should do to prepare.

1.4) How do I prepare a Simple Medication List?
Remove the extra labels from prescription medication sheets and place the labels on a sheet of paper. All of the medications labels will have the important information needed during an emergency.

1.5) What information does a person need to include about durable medical equipment (DME) in a disaster go-bag?
Have the manufacturer name of the equipment and the serial number of the equipment. It would also be good to have the manufacture’s telephone number for questions concerning the handling of the equipment in case it breaks down during the emergency situation.

1.6) I receive regular services/treatments. Are there plans I should make in case of emergency?
If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation, talk to your service provider about their emergency plans. Work with them to identify back-up service providers within your area and the areas you might evacuate to.

1.7) How do I plan for in-home health care or meal services during emergencies?
Work with the your in-home services to personalize emergency plans to meet needs during emergencies. Develop back-up plans for personal assistance services, hospice, or other forms of in-home assistance.

1.8) How do I prepare for electrical outages affecting my medical equipment?
Make prior arrangements with your physician and/or check with oxygen supplier(s) about emergency plans for respirators or other electrical powered medical equipment.

1.9) Where is the safest place for oxygen equipment shut off switch?
Keep the shut-off switch for oxygen equipment near your bed or chair, so a person can get to it quickly if there is a fire.

1.10) Should I shut off my utilities during a disaster?
Yes. If there is damage to an individual’s home or they are instructed to turn off utilities during the emergency conditions.

1.11) What other safe water sources in a home, can be utilized in emergency situations?
Safe water sources include:

  • Melted ice cubes
  • Water drained from the water heater (if the water heater has not been damaged)
  • Liquids from canned goods such as fruit or vegetable juices
  • Water drained from pipes

1.12) Do they have smoke alarms for people with disabilities?
Yes. Bed shakers, light strobes, and voice alarms are available for people with disabilities.

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Shelter

2.1) Can an individual stay in the shelter without personal care aides?
Yes. Shelter operators should provide support services in mass care shelters to accommodate people with disabilities who are not medically fragile but need some assistance with daily living activities. Such assistance can be provided by medical personnel or trained volunteers in the shelter.

2.2) Can I bring a service animal to the shelter?
Yes. Under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) a person is allowed to bring the service animal to the shelter.

The emergency personnel can only ask a person two questions about the service animal: (1) “Do they need this animal because of a disability?” (2) “What tasks or work has the animal been trained to perform?” Service animals can be a dog or trained miniature horse.

2.3) Does a service animal need a go-bag?
Yes. Prepare a disaster go-bag for a service animal. Items included in the service animal’s go bag include food, water, medication, favorite toy, crate, leash, service animal shot records, and name of the veterinarian. It is important to remember that these items will be available in a shelter in case of emergency conditions.

2.4) Will the shelter provide food and water for a service animal?
Yes. Many times a person is not able to bring everything to a shelter that is needed for the service animal. Do not allow this to keep a person home during an emergency. Evacuate to the nearest shelter with a person’s service animal anytime a hazardous conditions occurs.

2.5) Does the owner of the service animal have to pay for its care in the shelter?
No. No payment is involved in the care of a person’s service animal during the emergency circumstances.

2.6) Can I request an American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter in the shelter?
Yes. Communication is important and access to communication is mandated by The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) laws. Request this service as soon as you arrive in the shelter.

2.7) Will the emergency personnel provide an orientation and way finding assistance to people who are blind or who have low vision?
Yes. Under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the emergency shelter personnel should provide these services to people who seek awareness of shelter environment.

2.8) Will the shelter provide a low-stimulation “stress-relief zone”?
Yes. This type of space will be provided on a priority basis to anyone in a shelter.

2.9) Can I receive durable medical equipment (DME) and medication in the shelter?
Yes. Walkers, wheelchairs, canes, crutches, and medication can be provided in the shelter. Ask the shelter’s medical personnel for such equipment or medication when you enroll into the shelter.

2.10) Will I have access to electricity for oxygen, or other life sustaining equipment in the shelter?
Yes. Electricity will be provided in the shelter. Inform the shelter personnel about your need for electricity.

2.11) Can I ask for shower or bathroom transferring assistance while in the shelter?
Yes. Accessibility to all services is a part of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Assistance in daily living activities is a part of the shelter operations. Ask the shelter personnel for the location of these individuals in the shelter.

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