During any emergency, be it weather-related or man-made, we want those in the autism community to be prepared. Parents and care providers should project a demeanor of calm during a disaster or emergency, even if we’re not feeling it! Children and adults on the spectrum may sense your emotional state and mimic it. Be prepared to project a sense of calm.
To get ready for a hurricane you can create a visual social story using images from the internet to
prepare your child for what to expect like the one below. (images from Boardmaker)
SPECIAL NEEDS REGISTRY
Go to: FloridaDisaster.org to register in your county and get all the latest information. The Florida Division of Emergency Management, in coordination with each local emergency management agency in the state, developed a registry to allow residents with special needs to register with their local emergency management agency to receive assistance during a disaster. The statewide registry provides first responders with valuable information to prepare for disasters or other emergencies.
Wearing a medical alert tag or bracelet to identify your disability may help in case of an emergency.
PREPARE BEFORE A DISASTER STRIKES
Be ready to evacuate. Have a plan for getting yourself and your loved ones out of your home or building (ask family or friends for assistance, if necessary). Plan two evacuation routes because some roads may be closed or blocked in a disaster.
Create a network of relatives, friends or co-workers to assist in an emergency.If you think you may need assistance in a disaster, discuss needs with relatives, friends and co-workers and ask for their help.
Give a key to a trusted neighbor or friend who may be able to assist you in a disaster.
FOR AN EVACUATION
1. Blanket and Pillow
3. Folding chair
4. Sleeping bag or cot
5. Personal hygiene items
6. Change of clothes
7. Identification and valuable documents
8. A written emergency contact list
9. Items such as a CD player and CDs (with extra batteries);
a DVD player and DVDs; Tablet; Earbuds or headphones; Favorite toy/stuffed animal or other sensory soothing items; paper and crayons; child's own flashlight
10. Any needed Assisted Technology Devices/chargers
11. Noise cancelling headphones
12. Hurricane/Storm social story
13. A drawing of the building layout and map of the area to give an orientation of where you are in relation to your home.
14. An ID bracelet and autism information cards
IF A DISASTER STRIKES
Look for items that may have broken or been displaced that could cause a hazard, particularly electrical lines.
Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. People have died or been poisoned by carbon monoxide in times of disaster due to the use of generators, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside the home, basement, garage or camper or even outside near an open window. Never use these devices inside.
HAVE A DISASTER KIT READY
1. Flashlight with extra batteries
2. Portable, battery operated radio and extra batteries
3. First aid kit with manual
4. 3 - 7 day supply of non-perishable food and water or preferred beverage (gluten free casein free, if needed)
5. Manual can opener
6. Essential medicines/supplements for 3 - 7 days
7. Cash and credit cards (withdraw cash in advance)
8. Sturdy shoes
If you have a severe speech, language,
or hearing disability:
1. If you need to dial 911, indicate TTY/TDD call.
2. Store a writing pad/pencils to communicate.
3. Keep a flashlight handy to signal your whereabouts to other people and for illumination to aid in communication.
4. Remind friends that you cannot completely hear warnings or emergency instructions. Ask them to be your source of emergency information as it comes over their radio.
If you have a pet/service dog, be aware that they may become confused or disoriented in an emergency. Store extra food, water and supplies for your pet as well.