Monday, April 3, 2006

Creating a Plan for Dealing with a Disaster

I shared a glimpse into my fear of being unprepared. This was probably intensified by years of having both a terminally ill husband and a complex special needs child. Raymond, Billy Ray’s deceased Dad, could be in emergency with a collapsed lung or some infection without warning. If I was behind on laundry, etc. that was a problem for Billy Ray who had issues with incontinence at that time Trips to the Emergency Room are discussed here . We also talked about anticipating your child’s stressors for example when the furnace goes out or weather problems occur.

In the media coverage of Hurricane Katrina, I remember thinking Billy Ray would never be able to handle the shelter situations pictured. It has haunted me for more months. That fear was intensified by the “breaking news” alert that keep coming into my inbox about terrorist threats and unrest in the world.

Whether from terrorist or natural disasters it seems vital that we come up with a realization plan for caring for our special needs children in emergencies. I did a search on Google for emergency preparations. There were multiple good articles with the concept. Hurricane Tips: Special Needs and Elderly is a very good guide to get your thinking started regarding preparation.

That having been said there is some adapting to preparation suggestions that would need to be adapted to Billy Ray. The first thing that stood out when reviewing the suggestions was their suggestion for having one month’s medications in a safe location where you could go to in the event of crisis. Depending on your medication insurance or state health plan the idea that you could accumulate that much extra medications is probably unlikely. For example, we are only able to fill Billy Ray’s medication 3 days before it runs out. You could begin saving a pill or two at a time but it would be difficult to accumulate 30 days a supply. Shooting for a goal of a week’s medications might be more doable.

I am in the process of creating a simple form to anticipate what Billy Ray would need. When I do that I will put it on my website and will let you know when it’s up.

It seems important to be prepared. At the same when day to day struggles are like they are for many of us it will be difficult to prepare. Even baby steps to prepare will make a difference in how well our children will adapt in such a disaster.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
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