Emergency preparedness is a topic that is of particular importance to many amputees. Although many people have a disaster plan on what to do in the event of a fire, natural disaster or a man-made disaster, amputees have extra issues to think through.
Unfortunately, many emergency response teams or emergency responders do not have much experience in dealing with amputees or other people with special needs. Even FEMA provides very little guidance on how to deal with people with mobility issues. It’s important for amputees to be aware of the limitations of emergency responders and to come up with their own emergency disaster plans based on their situation. Situations in the U.S. in recent memory, including the terror attacks on September 11 and Hurricane Katrina, illustrate how important it is for individuals to be prepared.
To develop your emergency plan, contact organizations like Red Cross, FEMA, and your local emergency management agencies to ask for more information. Consider the potential hazards you could face, and what you would need if you needed to stay inside your home for long periods of time. Talk to your employer as well about how you would evacuate the workplace in the event of a disaster. On September 11, an amputee in the World Trade Center who had a prosthetic leg was able to safely evacuate because he had practiced during fire drills. Another wheelchair user in the World Trade Center lived because of a lightweight wheelchair in his office he had purchased after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
When putting together an emergency plan, besides considering things like food, water, battery powered radios, blankets, and other emergency items, consider what you would need specifically to help with your medical condition. If your prosthetic is battery powered, keep an ample supply of batteries at home, at work, and in your vehicle. Keep a supply of prescribed medications, and extras if you can get them. Keep a list of the serial numbers and models of prosthetics and other medical devices.
I am a personal injury attorney, and also an amputee. I enjoy helping amputees with their legal claims, as well as talking them through other related issues they may be facing. If you are an amputee and are facing legal questions related to the amputation, call me, Conal Doyle, Amputation Attorney at 310-385-0567. I am happy to help you with your questions. Call today.