Emergencies can occur suddenly and without warning. For individuals living with MS, or any other chronic disease, medical emergencies and natural disasters can present a real challenge. Emergencies sometimes cannot be avoided, but being prepared ahead of time can make the world of a difference.
You know your body and limitations better than anyone. Plan for your own safety as you are best able to know your functional abilities and possible needs during an emergency situation. It’s important to prepare your surrounding friends and family as well and inform them of any accommodations you may require. Create a personal support network around you that consists of people you trust within your home, school or workplace. Write down your emergency contacts and provide them with your number and address as well. They’ll be able to recognize your capabilities and needs and be able to provide immediate assistance during an emergency situation.
Create a personal checklist and evaluate what assistance and resources you need before, during and after an emergency. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for an unexpected emergency – medical or natural disaster.
- Water – have liters of water or several water bottles handy.
- Food that won’t spoil such as canned food, energy bars and dry food. Don’t forget the can opener!
- Battery powered flashlight and radio
- First aid kid
- Prescription medications
- Copy of your emergency plan and contact information
- Toiletries – toilet paper, hand sanitizer, utensils
- A whistle in case you need to call for help
For individuals that have mobility challenges, they often require more detailed planning in the event of a disaster. Some individuals use power chairs or wheelchairs which can pose a challenge in the case of a power outage. It’s important to have a back-up power supply or have a manual wheelchair as an alternative. Another tool to consider is a medical alert necklace. This allows you to call for help with the press of button.
While disasters and emergencies can affect everyone, their impact on individuals with mobile and physical needs can pose a challenges. By taking a few steps and preparing ahead of time, you will be better prepared to face any unexpected emergencies.