TIPS FOR PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES
Considerations for 72 Hour Emergency Kits:
- If you use a cane, keep extras in strategic, consistent and secured locations at work, home, school, volunteer sites, etc. to help you maneuver around obstacles and hazards. Be sure to keep a spare cane in your emergency kit.
- If helpful, mark emergency supplies with large print, fluorescent tape or alternate formats.
- If you use any adaptive device, be use you have enough extra batteries to power this devise during an emergency.
- Invest in a battery-operated charger for your pager or cell phone.
- If you have some vision, place security lights in each room to light paths of travel. These lights plug into electrical wall outlets and light up automatically if there is a loss of power. They will, depending on type, continue to operate for 1 to 6 hours and can be turned off manually to be used as a flashlight.
- Store high-powered flashlights (with wide beams) and extra batteries.
- If you wear soft contact lenses, plan to have an alternative available because you may not be able to operate the cleaning unit without power.
- Create a back-up system for important data and store it in your kit.
- Do not get rid of your TTY or Alternate Format TTY, even if you rarely use it. You may need the TTY and your home phone to make calls if your videophone or internet is down. Also, make sure your TTY is in full operating order. A fully-charged TTY can keep running for several hours without power.
Considerations for Notifications:
For people who have both vision and hearing loss, getting information about an emergency is critical. So is getting adequate access to services so you can deal with how an emergency affects you, and recover from it. Planning ahead is particularly important, so you can be prepared.
- Some news broadcasts may provide 800 numbers to call to find out whether or not to evacuate or to provide additional emergency information or resources.
- Do not depend on only one method. Some additional options include:
- Many cities and counties in Colorado offer a citizen alert service that allows you to choose your method of notifications that can include a phone call to your home or mobile phone. Please contact your local city or county to determine if this service is available in your area.
- Make sure friends and close neighbors know that you could need be alerted in case of an emergency. A neighbor might be willing to wake you in case of a tornado in the middle of the night. That person could call or ring your doorbell.
- Find out if your neighborhood has a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Make sure that team, and the local police and fire departments, knows that you need to be alerted in an emergency. You need to tell them your needs.
- NOAA Weather/All Hazard Alert Radio with Text Messages. These radios are specially designed to receive emergency information. Some radios can be connected to alarm systems, bed shakers, etc. Learn more about the NOAA radios at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/special_need.htm
- A reverse notification system is also available in some communities. This service can call YOU in an emergency in your area. Check with your local emergency management office to find out if this system is available on your home phone.
- Use the TV, Internet, email alerts, or a buddy system to get information about an emergency. Do not call 911 unless you have a serious emergency.
- Service animals may become confused, panicked, frightened or disoriented in and after a disaster. Keep them confined or securely leashed or harnessed. A leash (or harness) is an important item for managing a nervous or upset animal. Be prepared to use alternative methods to negotiate your environment.
- Plan on losing the auditory clues you normally rely on following a major disaster.
- Predetermine which local broadcasting systems will provide continuous news that will be accessible to you.
- Be sure to plan carefully for contacting family members who have a visual impairment. Before an emergency happens, set up a plan if you are unable to make contact by phone. Think through different situations and consider how you will contact your family.
- Have at least three people you can contact in an emergency, and more buddies if possible. At least one person should be out of state. Another should be in your neighborhood. Don’t worry about calling them before you evacuate. You can call them after you leave to let them know where you are. It is often better to call a person out of state because phone lines may be busy or not working in your neighborhood.
- Have a neighbor, family member or friend check on you in case an emergency happens or is about to happen. You may want to agree to meet at a specific place in case of emergencies.
- You also may want to check on your neighbors or friends to see if you can help them and if they are all right during an emergency.
- Arrange with a friend, family member or neighbor to take you to a different place if you have to leave. Work out a way to contact each other.
- Make arrangements to take public transportation ahead of time as another option for evacuation. Make sure you have enough money to use public transportation.
- Sometimes you can call a local police or rescue station, or your local emergency management office to find out whether or not to evacuate.
- Also, you can check with your local service agency and/or school for people or are blind or visually impaired to see if they can help you with emergency planning.