A 2001 National Organization on Disability/Harris Poll survey found that 61% of people with disabilities had not made plans to quickly and safely evacuate their homes. Among those who were employed, 50% said that no plans had been made to safely evacuate their workplaces. Don't wait for an emergency to occur to begin to think about safety!
Before an Earthquake
- Set up your residence and workplace so that you can quickly get to a safe place during an earthquake. Doorways may be your best choice, although keep in mind that doors may swing shut and may be difficult to manage.
- Be sure to practice your evacuation plan at home and encourage your employer to hold regular evacuation drills for all employees. Alert your neighbors and co-workers if there are specific ways they can assist you to evacuate or help if you become trapped.
- Maintain a list of medications, allergies, special equipment, names and numbers of doctors, pharmacists and family members and keep it with you at all times. Keep extra medication and an extra pair of eyeglasses (if you wear them) with your emergency supplies. Don't forget extra batteries for hearing aids if you require them.
- Anchor special equipment such as telephones and life support systems. Fasten tanks of gas, such as oxygen, to the wall.
- Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days. If you are dependent upon electricity for life-sustaining equipment, make sure to have back-up power and that you have let the Pacific Gas and Electric Company know of your situation so that every effort can be made to get your power restored as quickly as possible.
Special preparations for those who depend upon assistance for mobility:
- Keep extra emergency supplies at your bedside and by your wheelchair. Have walking aids near you at all times. Place extra walking aids in different rooms of the house.
- Put a security light in each room. These lights plug into any outlet and light up automatically if there is a loss of electricity. They continue operating automatically for four to six hours, and they can be turned off manually.
- Have a whistle near you to signal for help. Find two people you trust who will check on you after an earthquake. Tell them your special needs. Show them how to operate any equipment you use. Show them where your emergency supplies are kept. Give them a spare key.
During and After an Earthquake
- If you require assistance with mobility and are out of a wheelchair, stay where you are and cover your head and neck. If you are in a wheelchair, stay in it and go into a doorway that doesn't have a door. Cover your head and neck with your hands.
- Turn on your portable radio for instructions and news reports. For your own safety, cooperate fully with public safety officials and instructions.
- Prepare for aftershocks. If you evacuate your home, leave a message at your home telling family members and others where you can be found.
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