Patti Waits, M.Ed., LPC, LICDC (ADAMH Consumer and Family Advocate)
Jamie Cook (ADAMH Public Relations Assistant)
Is it really going to happen here?
In Fairfield County, where we’re nestled near the Hocking Hills, it’s easy to get comfortable with our fairly mild weather. We’ve been lucky to avoid most of the major disasters that have devastated near-by states. But, two years ago the unexpected happened when the Doracho moved through central Ohio. For some residents, it simply meant going back to basics as we waited for our power to be turned back on and our roofs to be patched. But for others, the disruption in their daily lives and the community services they receive was devastating.
Why do I need to be prepared?
Experts in disaster preparedness say that the more prepared you are for an emergency or crisis, the safer and more comfortable you’ll be until help arrives. That means that everyone should maintain some supplies on hand in case of a weather disaster. It’s especially important for people with disabilities or special health needs to be prepared for the unique challenges they could face when basic services are not available. Electricity, water, sewer, and telephone services could all be compromised in the event of a big storm. As we’ve seen in the past, it could take a few days to have some of these services turned back on. Having a plan in place can help you get through an emergency more safely.
What do I need to do to be prepared?
It’s important to plan to make it on your own for at least three days. Make the plan, write down the plan, and share it with family, friends, care givers, and others in your personal support system. Aim to have at least three dependable people prepared to help you if a disaster strikes.
FEMA recommends that you keep the following things on hand in an “emergency supply kit”:
- Water (one gallon per person per day)
- Food (a 3 day supply of non-perishable food)
- Radio (battery powered or hand-crank powered)
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid kit
- Dust mask
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
- Wrench or Pliers
- Can opener
It maybe also be important to consider any special health concerns you face, so that your access to your medications is not compromised by the disaster.
Hopefully the most severe weather disaster we face in the coming years is wilted plants and dried out lawns. However, should the unexpected happen, these tips can help you feel confident that you will be able to face the challenges of a disaster.