With severe weather season now in full swing, people with disabilities must ensure they can quickly escape their homes in an emergency. Patients in Mayo Clinic’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation are educated about large-scale disasters, such as floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as small-scale events, such as home fires.
“We see an additional need for patients with disabilities to be prepared to respond to disaster situations,” says Lisa Beck, a clinical nurse specialist at Mayo Clinic. “As we learned during Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, persons with disabilities need to consider a number of different factors, such as identifying who is in their support system, special transportation needs, and what supplies to include in their emergency preparedness kits.”
Beck worked with disabled patients to design patient education materials. She recommends that people with disabilities take the following steps to ensure they are prepared:
- Practice getting out of the house quickly at least twice a year.
- Discuss any special needs with a local emergency medical services provider.
- Plan where to shelter, how to get there, and who may need to provide assistance.
- Prepare an emergency preparedness kit to last 24 to 48 hours, including medication lists, contact numbers, medications, catheter supplies, first aid kit, and extra glasses.
- Consider shelter and supplies for service animals.
To schedule an interview with Lisa Beck, please contact Bryan Anderson at (507) 284-5005 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A patient from Minnesota and a patient from Wisconsin are also available for interviews.