If you or someone in your home has functional needs, it is important to include them in your disaster plans. You may also contact your local Office of Emergency Management in order to see if your community has a functional needs program. The question still remains, what does it mean to have a functional need? Functional needs are those needs that a person must meet in order to survive that must be provided from an alternate source. For instance, diabetics often need insulin to remain healthy. Some handicaps may require the individual to have a caregiver while others may need a wheelchair because of the inability to walk. Regardless of the need, it is important to plan for disaster. Most police departments and fire departments will perform “welfare checks,” or visits to the home of a person with functional needs to ensure that they are okay. Contact your local officials to see if they provide those services. There are also a number of other ways to prepare for emergencies.
Emergency Preparedness for Functional Needs Populations
- Keep 7-14 days of all necessary medications on hand.
- Have a list of any medications taken by functional needs patients. Be sure to include the dosage and medication schedule on the list.
- Keep support items in a designated place so they can be found quickly.
- Include any caretakers in the planning process.
- Provide the power company with a list of all power-dependent life support equipment and have an alternate power source, if possible.
- Create an adequate emergency food supply for those with special dietary needs.