If you or a loved one are blind or have low vision, consider the following when developing your emergency plans to increase your and your family’s personal preparedness during emergencies or disasters .
1. Plan for Yourself & Your Service Animal
- Customize emergency kits with items specific to your needs: a walking cane, heavy work gloves to protect hands when exploring a new environment, tape recorder with extra batteries and any other tools necessary for daily tasks.
- Include food, water and medications for your service animal along with veterinary contact information in your emergency kit.
- Be aware that service animals may become confused, panicked, frightened or disoriented during and after a disaster. Include a comfort object like a favorite toy or blanket.
- If helpful, mark emergency supplies with large print, fluorescent tape or braille.
- Develop a network of neighbors, friends, and family that can alert you to emergencies and evacuation orders. Use a digital recorder or smartphone to record alert notifications to ensure you do not miss critical instructions.
- If you are asked to Shelter-in-Place, have an alternative method for your service animal such as puppy training pads.
- If you have to Evacuate, ensure first responders know your portable assistive devices are part of your emergency kit and essential for your communication needs and not just “baggage”.
2. Plan for your Environment
- Know alternate transit, transportation and pedestrian routes in your neighborhood and work environments.
- Know emergency exits for buildings you visit regularly (office buildings, doctor’s offices, stores, etc.).
- If you have some vision, place security lights in each room to light paths of travel. These lights plug into electric wall outlets and light up automatically if there is a loss of power.
- Plan for losing the auditory clues you usually rely on after a major disaster.
3. Plan for Your Community
- Make transportation arrangements with outside family members, friends, or neighbors.
- Contact your first responders to explore the creation of a voluntary registry of people with disabilities located within their jurisdiction.
Resources available in Kentucky
Bluegrass Council of the Blind
1093 S. Broadway, Suite 1214
Lexington, KY 40504
(859) 259-1834 | bcbky.org
Kentucky Council of the Blind KY
148 Vernon Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206 |
(502) 895-4598 | kentucky-acb.org
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
1324 Madison Avenue
Covington, KY 41011
(859) 371-3380 | vcgc.org