How to prepare for a hurricane when you’re disabled
When you’re disabled, getting ready for hurricanes is a lot more complicated. For people like me, it’s not as easy as hopping in the car and heading somewhere safe. I’ve been in Florida for over 10 years though and been through multiple storms, so here are a few things my family has learned about preparing for hurricanes when you’re disabled!
Go out and get things like batteries, extra chargers, flashlights, coolers, etc. There are tons of lists available online if you need help figuring out what you’ll need, and it’ll vary for different families.
One obvious thing is water, and it’s the hardest to find last minute so get a few packs of bottled water early. Or, you can just grab some empty water jugs and fill them up yourself before a storm comes, which is what my family did. We couldn’t find much bottled water, so we hoarded pitchers instead and it worked fine. If you have pets, don’t forget to get plenty of supplies for them as well!
If there are any supplies you’ll need, like gauze, bandages, or over the counter meds, you should stock up on those as well. Planning for dietary restrictions can be a little more complicated because you can only buy certain foods so far in advance, but just get what you can and figure out the rest when the time comes.
I’d also recommend a weather radio, which was also super hard to find last minute. It’s nice to still know what’s going on after the power goes out, especially if you’re worried about tornados. And I am always worried about tornados.
Planning for evacuation
Not every shelter is accessible, and not every accessible shelter has what you might need. If you have a lot of medical equipment or a service animal, you’re going to have a harder time finding a place to go. Look it up and know which shelters will work for you now so when the time comes you already know where to go.
I’d also recommend looking up hotels further inland that are in your price range and can accommodate your needs as well. I know a lot of people just go to a hotel to ride out the storms, and this could be an option for you if you’re unable to leave the state.
Make a list of everything you know you’ll have to take with you if you do decide to leave. It’s much easier to make that plan now than it is when you’re stressed, scared, and hurrying. This way, it’s ready to go when you need it and you’re much less likely to forget something important. You could also start a bag to keep in your closet with a few spare outfits, some batteries, an extra phone charger, etc so it’s time to go you’re halfway done packing already.
Planning to stay
The point is, there are a ton of reasons to stay. Talk it out with whoever you live with and see if that’s the right call for you. If it is, have a gameplan. Know where the safest parts of your home are. You might not be able to get your house or apartment ready by yourself, but you probably know people who will also stay to ride out the storm. Ask if they’d help you with things like boarding up windows or getting sandbags.
As hectic as Florida gets days before a hurricane, communities usually will come together to help so don’t be afraid to reach out! My neighbors were a lifesaver last year and our apartment definitely would’ve flooded had they not made us makeshift sandbags.
If you’re going to need a generator, please please please be safe and make sure you learn the proper ways to use them. They really can be dangerous, so take it seriously.
Prepare for the worst case scenarios.
In the event that you need to be rescued from your home, make sure you have all the emergency contact information you’ll need ready to go. Have important documents in a folder that you can find quickly and easily. Things like identification for your family and pets, medical information, etc etc. Put your name and contact information on your medical equipment and supplies. Label things like your medication and devices so nothing vital gets left behind or lost. Have everything on a list as well.