Make sure you have a phone that works. Cordless phones rely on electricity to work and cell phones run out of battery. As well, cell networks can get overwhelmed in emergencies. During the Northeast blackout of 2003, I was very happy that I had a basic phone that just plugged into the phone jack. Without it, I wouldn't have been able to get in touch with anyone.
If there's advanced warning of a situation that could turn into an emergency, make sure that everything that needs charging is fully charged. This includes your cell phone, toothbrush, laptop and if you use a mobility aid, most definitely your wheelchair or scooter. Keep a charged car battery in your home to power wheelchairs, scooters, or other motorized equipment. Talk to the company that services your equipment for tips on how to manage during a period of no electricity.
Does your condition mean that you need help during an emergency? Set up a support network swell in advance. Talk to your family, friends, neighbors and service providers so you have backup in case of emergency. Make sure that several people you trust have a key to your home and a plan about how they can help you.
If you have mobility problems, investigate which shelters are equipped to deal with these issues. This can include being accessible and having access to a power source to charge scooters and wheelchairs. Know how to get there. Most areas have a disability-specific emergency preparedness plan for people with disabilities and this could be particularly helpful if you have limited mobility. You can find more information about this topic on the CDC website.
Hunkering down for hurricane not knowing what's going to happen is unnerving, but at least we’ve had time to get ready. Other emergencies, such as the Northeast blackout in 2003, can happen without warning. Making sure you're prepared can help you get through the experience.
To all our friends who are affected by the storm, please stay safe. Take care of yourselves and if you can, check in on your neighbors.
Lene is the author of the award-winning blog The Seated View