In events that require evacuation, Easterseals encourages people with all abilities to prepare and make a plan. We also urge anyone seeking resources or assistance to contact us, reach out to your local Easterseals, and/or check out Ready.gov. Start with these S.A.F.E.T.Y tips to learn how you can prepare for an emergency:
Start preparing an evacuation plan now. If you have a disability, identify yourself to building managers and help devise an effective emergency procedure. People of all abilities must be equally prepared for an emergency evacuation. It is critical that everyone works together. Begin creating your evacuation plan by answering these key questions.
Ask family, friends and co-workers with disabilities — including those with vision, hearing and mobility issues — about their personal evacuation concerns and needs. Keep in mind that the needs of pregnant women, older adults, and people with injuries or illnesses are often similar to specific needs of people with disabilities.
Find "buddies." These can be co-workers or friends with whom you plan and practice. Buddies find you in an emergency and can provide planned assistance in the event of an emergency or evacuation.
Evaluate the area. Predetermine and practice your evacuation route with your buddies, who also know how to operate any special equipment needed to evacuate someone safely.
Test smoke detectors, public announcement systems, fire extinguishers, flashlights, et al., to assure proper function when needed. Make sure alternate alert systems are available for individuals with disabilities, especially for people with vision and hearing disabilities).
You can help Easterseals by making this important issue top-of-mind in your community — talking to business leaders, building management, government officials, police and fire departments.