How Are People With Special Needs Faring?


As I write this, headlines say that over 700,000 people in the southeast are without power. Hundreds of thousands of people were told to stay home, power or no power. So I’m thinking about a particular subset of people who are at home and are going to be more than inconvenienced. These are folks who may be in real danger if somebody hasn’t made arrangements for them ahead of time.

Two Groups in Real Danger

 

Special needs in emergency

Who’s monitoring food and medicines?

1. People with special medical needs. What about people who need a ventilator? Sleep-apnea equipment? Oxygen? People who are on a feeding tube or a negative-pressure wound vacuum? What about people who simply need an elevator to get into or out of their building? Are all these people getting the care they need right now with the electricity out and driving restricted? 2. Home-bound seniors. What about seniors who can’t get out and who depend on a program like Meals on Wheels for their main food source or on a home-health care agency for help with daily activities such as bathing or eating or getting the proper dose of medicine? If drivers who provide these services can’t safely travel, what is happening to their clients?

Hidden Misery, Hidden Disaster

According to U.S. census figures, approximately 20% of the population is disabled. That figure rises to nearly 80% of people over 80.  That’s at least 140,000 in the storm-covered southeast today who have special emergency preparedness needs. Those who are prepared – with generators or batteries or hand-driven equipment, and with extra food and personal supplies – will probably make it through this storm OK. But some percentage of these people will NOT be prepared. I’m wondering just how well they are doing, and if they know who to call for help, or if they CAN call if their phone service is disrupted. We’ve seen on the news the traffic jams, the accidents, and cars stranded in the snow.

Stories Yet To Emerge

We haven’t heard yet about isolated individuals trapped in their homes. Those stories will be slow to emerge – but those people are in the middle of their emergencies right now!

Do you have friends or family that belong to one of these special groups, or who serve them?

  1. Can you offer any assistance right now?
  2. Do you have plans for them as you and your family or CERT group make preparations for future emergencies?

These special  groups will always need extra consideration.

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