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Safety Begins at Home: Emergency Escape Plan for
Loved Ones with Mobility Challenges
By Jennifer Wilson, Staff Writer

(Page 3 of 3)
  • Extra wheelchair batteries charged and ready to go
  • On-hand full, oxygen tanks, extra medications, catheters, food for guide or service dogs, and any other special equipment needed
  • A change of clothing and rain gear for your loved one, and sturdy shoes for you
  • Extra blankets or sleeping bags
  • List of family physicians, relatives or friends who should be notified if you or your loved one are injured
  • A list of the style and serial numbers of medical devices such as pacemakers or special batteries for essential medical equipment
  • An extra set of car keys.

During a disaster, anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is considered to be an added hazard. Before an emergency situation happens, itís a good idea to go around your home and look specifically for items that might pose a danger to you and your loved one during a disaster. Make sure that shelving is securely fastened to the walls, and that any large, heavy objects are placed on lower shelves or on the floor. Also, hang pictures and mirrors away from beds; larger pictures or mirrors should be bolted to the wall. Observe electrical wiring around your home, and repair any wires found to be defective or hazardous. Have a shut-off valve or switch for oxygen equipment near your loved oneís bed or chair, so they (or you) can turn it off quickly if there is a fire. Itís a good idea to secure your water heater by strapping it to a nearby wall in order to keep it from falling over during a disaster. Repair cracks found in the ceilings or foundation and brace any overhead light fixtures. If you have a chimney, have a professional inspect it for any cracks or weak spots, and have the appropriate repairs made; this will make it more difficult for it to come crashing through your roof during a disaster. Invest in fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. You may even consider installing home sprinklers for your loved one.

There are many things that caregivers can do to help themselves and their loved ones prepare for any type of emergency or disaster, but it is best to be ready well in advance, before a dire situation arises. Remember to contact your local fire department or your communityís emergency management office for help with your preparations. You can also contact the American Red Cross National Headquarters and ask them for information regarding a chapter near you.

American Red Cross National Headquarters
2025 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 1 800 733 2767


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