An emergency, particularly natural calamities and life-threatening accidents can leave normal and able people helpless. But, what about folks that are bound to a wheelchair or aging and something like a hurricane Katrina start blasting your home? Emergencies are like that; it can happen without warning, cast the entire city or county in darkness, force people out of their homes or force people to stay home indoors for days on end. It is during these times when you wish that things are different and that you are more ready for disasters.
It’s true that emergency preparedness cannot stop calamities from happening. But, it can make a difference in how you will manage the effects. With emergency preparedness, you will surely have some dehydrated food stocked in the cupboard and enough drinking water for at least three days. You will no doubt want survival kits that you can pick up when the need is there to evacuate your home. While the untrained watched helplessly on the sidelines not knowing what to do or say when disaster strikes, you will stand as a pillar of strength for your family, neighbors and community.
Training helps you prepare your family to feel more secure. You can prepare your home to prevent disasters like fire by installing fire prevention measures such as smoke alarms on every level of the home, training everyone to use fire extinguisher and having a family fire escape plan when efforts fail. You can train your kids some basic emergency preparedness and keep on drilling them and the entire household so that movements become automatic and the mind stays focused. The emergency preparedness training can also prepare you to help others. There are calamities when regular folks just rise to the occasion. The 9/11 tragedy stood witness to the heroism of many people helping others that they don’t even know.
If you feel that you need or want training on emergency preparedness find out about from the postings being made by local Red Cross in your area or CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Red Cross is noted worldwide in its service when it comes to first aid; swimming, water safety and lifeguarding; disaster response and emergency preparedness training. These services and trainings are offered to interested parties to promote safety in homes and communities, schools and workplaces. Meanwhile, what is catching up is the emergency preparedness, management and practices for and with the disabled.
CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities financially assisted Kansas Disability and Health Department to be able to provide training for emergency volunteers and responders with varied disabilities. Some websites promote similar efforts addressing disaster-related needs of the disabled such as the Best Practices website and Nobody Left Behind. The latter even offers free 2-hour course on responders who need to assist people with various sensory, physical and cognitive disorders. The Federal Emergency and Management Agency (FEMA) and Red Cross are partners in preparing people with disabilities and other special needs for all kind of disasters and emergencies. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities also assist in fostering the goals to help people with disabilities towards emergency preparedness.
CDC also funds National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health that has a mission to better understand and improve the capacity of the nation to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. NCDP makes significant contributions through providing education through training and technical support to health workers, governments, and community partners.
Disasters can reduce even normal, healthy people into helplessness; it can do worse for the disabled. Time and again many people with lesser abilities are challenged by survival issues when confronted with emergencies. It is high time that emergency preparedness training is used as a venue to increase the awareness of emergency responders about the special needs of those with disabilities. It high time that people with disabilities takes the challenge to do something for their survival.