With Millions Facing Hurricane Florence’s Destructive Path, Those With Limited Mobility Will Face Challenges Too

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With Hurricane Florence making landfall along the East Coast of the U.S., millions of people in the Carolinas, Virginia and other states could be impacted for days if not weeks with flooding, power outages, clean up and loss of public services.

The fact the the hurricane is so large – the area of tropical storm force winds generated by the storm was over 300 miles wide as of Thursday, according to a tweet from the National Hurricane Center.

But what about the hundred of thousands of people who limited mobility who are facing this storm?

Most of us with mobility issues are very aware of how to prepare in advance for an oncoming storm.

We know the drill. Prepare in advance. Collect medical your personal supplies. Evacuate if told to do so. Inform your support network. Be sure you can communicate with those you need to communicate with. The list is quite extensive.

There are also great resources online through websites like Ready.Gov which have downloadable PDF’s with great checklists and tips for preparing.

Other resources include those from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Red Cross.

FEMA: Hurricane Preparedness for Persons With Disabilities and Access and Functional Needs

Red Cross: Disaster Safety for People with Disabilities

One of the great tips we read while researching this was to be sure that you have your income direct deposited to your bank, and to be certain that you have use of a debit card, so you’re not dependent on cash or checks. Simple, but SO VERY IMPORTANT!

Keeping a written list of your prescriptions is important. A list of you doctors or specialists is important too.

But, what about after the storm?

What happens if you need to be rescued, like in this U.S. Coast Guard video in the aftermath of last year’s Hurricane Harvey?

What happens if your mobility equipment has been damaged or worse…destroyed?

What happens when you can’t get to the repair center we typically use, or roads are blocked, or need help to come to you?

How do you get service and how do you pay for it?

Getting service for a non-functioning or flooded wheelchair or scooter could take a long time. Ordering batteries or replacement parts online could take longer.

Hopefully you have family or a network of friends who can help you out.

Be prepared

What happens if you have to leave your home after the storm because the power is out long term or there is flooding issues? You want to be sure that you have all of our important papers along with all of your relevant insurance information – so you can relay it to whomever you decide to work with on your repairs or replacement. This will be important if you’ve had to evacuate to a new city or town.

Also… you should make sure you have a list of the style and serial numbers of all the equipment you use – inside and outside our home. It’s also a good idea to choose a company, or companies, that provide home service for your particular type of equipment.

What happens if that technician or company can’t get to you? Well – you should have more than one name in case your first choice can’t service you during that disaster.

Do they have certified technicians who are skilled at evaluating your equipment and our situation? Are they accredited by BOC and American Home Care? And most importantly – do they have representatives covering YOUR AREA?!