Natural Disaster

Disaster Recovery Special Needs

When reacting to a disaster, be aware that children, disabled family members, and pets will all most likely slow down your evacuation or preparation steps. You need to take actions as soon as a natural disaster is forecast. Reacting to a false alarm, such as a tornado that veers off to another county or a flood that does not reach your house, is much safer and easier to recover from than waiting too long to make the right decisions. These are three special circumstances that may require additional disaster planning.

children in disasters

natural disaster Children
Your children need to understand the possible dangers of natural disasters without living in fear of them. By knowing that you are ready, they will be more at peace. If you give them understanding of what may happen and what your family will do, they gain some control over the possible challenges. A disaster situation can be scary for anyone, but much more so for a child that is taken completely by surprise.

Breaking the normal routine, a natural disaster disrupts a child's world and that causes anxiety, fear, and confusion. The way you prepare for and react to emergencies will have a tremendous impact on how your child will deal with the ongoing risk and the actual event. As the parent, you decide how much to share with and prepare your child based on her age and maturity. Keep these things in mind:

disaster recovery plan Disabled

Family members with mobility disabilities such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, etc. will require extra time to evacuate. Depending on the disaster, their mobility may be greatly reduced. Be sure to incorporate their needs into your disaster recovery planning. For example, define a tsunami evacuation route on a paved path rather than a steep trail through the woods. Or, have a way to carry the person to the car if an earthquake destroys the sidewalk.

Extra time may be required to explain the situation and the plan of action to persons impaired of vision or hearing. Some temporary shelters may not be completely accessible so an alternate location may be required.

disaster recovery planning Pets
Red Cross disaster shelters and most other shelters can not take in pets due to health and safety regulations. Exceptions are made for service animals that aid disabled people, such as seeing-eye dogs. You need to include your pets in your family's disaster recovery plan and decide what you will do with them for different types of emergencies that may hit your home.

Keep in mind that an emergency is stressful on animals and may trigger survival behaviors. They may try to hide, escape, or attack. Remember:

If your plan is to evacuate, then you should plan on evacuating your pet also. Leaving a pet behind will most likely result in a lost, injured, or dead animal. Construct a plan now that addresses:

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