SPRINGFIELD – While every home should have a disaster preparedness kit stocked with such items as a flashlight, bottled water and a first-aid kit, emergency preparedness is even more critical for households with members who have functional needs. Throughout December, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will highlight the importance of disaster preparedness for people with functional needs as part of its 12-Month Preparedness Campaign.
“An ice storm, tornado or other disaster can leave people without power, heat or water for several days,” said IEMA Interim Director Joe Klinger. “For those who may need some type of assistance, these conditions can be especially dangerous if they aren’t prepared.”
To help people with functional needs and their caregivers prepare for emergencies, the Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) developed a guidebook, Emergency Preparedness Tips for Those with Functional Needs. The booklet addresses the unique preparedness considerations for people with visual, cognitive or mobility impairments; citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing; those who utilize service animals or life support systems; and senior citizens.
For each functional need, the guidebook provides a list of supplemental items for a disaster kit, tips on developing an emergency plan, suggestions on how to be better informed about community emergency planning and a checklist of preparedness activities.
In addition, the booklet contains a list of items for a standard disaster kit, a cut-out health information card, contact information for agencies providing services to people with functional needs and a copy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and American Red Cross guide, Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and Other Special Needs.
The booklet and additional information about emergency preparedness is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.