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Is the "Big One" Coming? Safety Tips for the Chronically Ill

Posted Nov 03 2008 8:55pm

This last week as I sat here typing away the earth moved... and then it moved some more. It wasn't a helicopter flying over which does tend to shake my windows, but a earthquake about 30 miles SE of Los Angeles and I am twenty miles north of San Diego. So it shook for a bit! Enough so that I eventually walked over to my doorframe and paused a moment.

Within minutes the news had stories on "preparing for the big one" and "what it would feel like." Since my sister and I were children living in Oregon, we've been hearing about the "big one" that was sure to split Disneyland down the middle and carry half of it off to sea. We worried about it for many years. We're not quite as worried now.

Perhaps because I DO believe it's all just a matter of time. The Lord is coming back. Sooner rather than later. And though I am not sure what forms of disruption he will bring or where, I don't doubt that here in the US, just like around the world, things are going to get a whole lot bumpier than usual.

On that note, it is wise to be prepared. And article this week out of Boston is titled, "Ill, Disabled Need Hurricane Help."  I'm glad to see that they are not being forgotten, but actual plans are taking place. The article says...

A U.S. researcher says provisions need to be made for the disabled and chronically ill in hurricane risk areas. Robert Belden of Harvard University near Boston says of the 5,055 people surveyed in hurricane-risk areas by the Harvard School of Public Health 14 percent live in households where someone has a chronic illness or disability that would require getting help in order to evacuate. Of this group, 43 percent do not have help lined up. They are more likely to be very worried about getting needed medical care -- 50 percent compared to 28 percent.

Forty-five percent of families with chronic illness worry about heat exhaustion compared to 23 percent with no chronic illness; 41 percent worry about having enough freshwater to drink compared to 27 percent and 41 percent worry about having necessary prescription drugs compared to 19 percent with no chronic illness.

"This study shows that if nothing is done, thousands of people with chronic illnesses and disabilities could be stuck in their homes during a major hurricane," Blendon said in a statement. "Preparing now for evacuating these groups could prevent future tragedies.

Since I had just posted a resource for emergency preparation for those with illness or disability, I thought this would be a good place to post it as well as a reminder.

This is a live webcast on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 2:00pm Central. [IT IS NOW ARCHIVED HERE.] Lex Frieden who is leading the webcast is chairperson of the National Council on Disability, president of Rehabilitation International, and chairperson of the American Association of People with Disabilities. He is credited with defining and pioneering the concept of “independent living” in the early 1970’s.

It will discuss community responsibilities for disaster preparedness and emergency planning with regards to people with disabilities. Each community is required to consider the needs of people with disabilities in their local emergency planning. These plans are supposed to be coordinated with the county, state and federal levels of government. Mr. Frieden will discuss:

  • how people with disabilities must be involved in the planning process

  • how to develop plans that accommodate people with disabilities

  • best practice models for community preparedness

  • how the Americans with Disabilities Act impacts planning and execution

  • and resources available includinghttp://www.disability911.org

WWW.DISABILITY911.ORG is an excellent web site full of lots of great resources. I encourage you to at least visit it and talk with your loved ones about any kind of plan for emergencies. You can also post your questions to the New Disability911 Blog

And while we're on the subject... one more thing!

Have you put ICE in your mobile/cell phone?

Putting "ICE" along with a name and telephone number will enable the emergency services to contact your family in the event of an emergency.

Standing for In Case of Emergency, ICE will allow ambulance crews and police officers to quickly contact a nominated person who can be informed of the incident.

  • Type the acronym ICE followed by a contact name (for example, ICE - Mom or ICE - Lucy) into the address book of your mobile phone
  • Save their phone number
  • Tell your ICE contact that you have designated them

Stay safe!

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