Flooding prep

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on July 19, 2021 # Emergency Preparedness

Flooding is a year-round threat to communities across the United States, causing more deaths than any weather-related hazard besides excessive heat. Flash floods are especially dangerous; while flooding can take place gradually over days or weeks, flash floods arrive with astonishing speed and force. Failed dams or levees, sudden snowmelt, and heavy rainfall occurring in a short period of time can not only cause water to rise as high as 30 feet, but also trigger rock and mudslides.Flash Flood

People living with paralysis should have a plan in place for quickly responding to floods and other natural disasters; preparation is key.

Stay informed: Long before an emergency, know where to find accurate information and updates. Contact local or regional departments of emergency management to identify evacuation routes and determine what notification services are available. Many cities, including New Orleans, Los Angeles, and New York, encourage residents to sign up for emergency alerts (weather-related and otherwise) that provide updates via phone calls, text or email. Download the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) app or use its text messaging service to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service and find emergency shelters and disaster recovery centers in your area.

Pack a go-bag: Keep a spare bag backed and ready in case evacuation is necessary. Items to include:

· Medical supplies, including extra catheters

· Three-day supply of medication

· Flashlight with extra batteries

· Wheelchair repair supplies (tire patch kit, manual tire pump)

· Heavy gloves

· Blankets

· Extra clothes

· Whistle

· Battery pack/extra charger

· Assistive devices (iPad, adaptive fork, anything necessary for daily tasks)

· Reeve wallet cards with vital health information

· List of emergency contacts (including doctors)

· Hand sanitizer/masks

· Service animal supplies, including blankets, extra food, bowl, dish and a recent photo in case of separation.

Build a support network: Identify at least three family members or friends who will be available to help in case of a flooding emergency or evacuation; all should be people you trust, who understand your functional needs, and can be immediately available in an emergency. Don’t depend on just one person in case they are out of town or not available during the crisis. Program their phone numbers into your cell phone and establish a back-up plan for how and when to meet in case communication isn’t possible. Individuals who receive help from caregivers should still maintain an additional support network as road closures can prevent or limit a caregiver’s ability to respond in an emergency.

Consider logistics: People living with spinal cord injury who do not drive may need to arrange accessible transportation during an emergency. Coordinate with support network members ahead of time who can assist you if a caregiver is unavailable. Understand your city or region’s evacuation plan. Know where you will go if evacuation is necessary. If you cannot stay with family or a member of your support network, determine what public shelters residents will be directed to and make sure they are accessible. (Service animals must be allowed in emergency shelters.) If flooding occurs, and you can drive, get to higher ground. (Monitor local radio and television stations for road closure updates.) Never drive through flooded areas or standing water. If you encounter flooded roads, turn the car around. Half of all flood-related deaths involve cars. Even as little as six inches of water can be dangerous, causing you to lose control of the vehicle. If evacuated, do not return to your home until local authorities say it is safe.

Home preparation: If there is no evacuation, and your home is safe, stay there. Prepare for potential boil water advisory. Keep bottled water on hand for emergencies. If needed, heat and boil tap water for a minute; allow to cool. Drink and cook with this boiled water until the advisory is lifted. Keep a three-day supply of non-perishable food on hand in case road closures prevent local travel.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Weather Service, ADA National Network, Kessler Foundation, American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.