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Wow, Hurricane Season….Already! The time is now to make our personal emergency plans. The National Organization on Disability Emergency Preparedness Initiative, sponsored by the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, offered trainings during 2008. Part of this training included an Emergency Readiness Wheel for People with Disabilities to use as a guide for preparation planning. A limited amount of wheels are available at local programs and at chapter office. Contact the Louisiana Chapter should you be interested in receiving a wheel. Keep wheel on your refrigerator to obtain easily during your preparations.

Here is a summary of the information provided by this tool:

Make a Disaster Plan - Creating a disaster plan is your responsibility and can improve your response to disasters. As a person with disabilities, the plan must be tailored to your functional abilities and limitations.

Things to remember Plan to be on your own for at least 3 days after a disaster. Telephones, power, and transportation services may be disrupted. Review, drill, and update plans and equipment at least every six months. Include services animals in drills. Practice telling first responders about the best way to assist you. Anticipate reactions you may have after a disaster and plan strategies for coping with them. NOAA weather radio can be set to alert you to natural or man-made disasters by audible alarm, visual strobe alarm, or vibrations alerts.

Ready Kit and Go Bag Supplies Suggested Items include: Battery operated flashlight, radio, TV; Take all mediations and cooler (if refrigeration needed) and make a list of all your prescriptions; 1 week supply of non-perishable foods that meet dietary needs, manual can opener; 1 gallon of water per day/per person; Cash, credit cards, checkbook, ATM cards; Medical equipment and assistive devices (oxygen and portable unit, hearing aids, walkers, glasses, etc.); Towels, masks, industrial respirators, etc. for chemical sensitivities, respiratory conditions, etc.; Emergency list of doctors, medications, pharmacies and other service providers; Items needed should you have infants, such as formula and diapers; White distress flag, whistle, or glow sticks; Important documents (photo ID, birth certificates, proof of address, medical insurance, etc.); Heavy gloves (especially for wheelchair users); Supplies for service animal including food, ID tags, etc.; Label all your items.

Here’s what you can do right now! Orleans Parish residents need to register with the parish should you need assistance in evacuation, call 311or

504-658-2299 to register. Translations available in Spanish and Vietnamese. 311 operators will take your information and turn it over to the Red Cross and Public Health Dept. to verify and access what your needs will be. They will need to know if you need wheelchair evacuation and other details to determine precise needs, including if you can get to an evacuation staging site location on your own. Jefferson Parish residents need to call the Jefferson Parish Council on Aging working with the Jefferson Parish Office of Emergency Management in assessing your needs for evacuation assistance. Call 504-888-5880 to have a registration packet mailed to you should you not have access to the web. If you do have access to web, go to http://jcoa.net/emergency-preparation.htm to register on line. Residents in all other parishes in Louisiana should contact their local Office of Emergency Preparedness for more information in those areas or call VIA LINK 211 toll free at 1-800-749-2673 or www.vialink.org for additional information and resources in your area. Information can also be obtained through the American Red Cross by calling local offices or on line at http://www.prepare.org/ and Department of Homeland Security at http://www.ready.gov/.

The following radio stations participate in the Louisiana Emergency Alert System. In the event of an emergency, these stations will broadcast emergency information:

Alexandria: AM 970 (KSYL), AM 580/FM 96.9 (KZMZ)
and FM 93.1 (KQID)
Baton Rouge: AM 1150 (WJBO) and FM 102.5 (WFMF)
Crowley: FM 102.9 (KAJN)
Lafayette: AM 1330 (KVOL) and FM 99.9 (KTDY)
Lake Charles: AM 1470 (KLCL) and FM 99.5 (KHLA)
New Orleans: AM 870 (WWL) and FM 101.9 (WLMG)
Monroe: AM 540/FM 101.9 (KNOE)
Ruston: AM 1490 (KRUS) and FM 107.5 (KXKZ)
Shreveport: AM 1130/FM 94.5 (KWKH)

For more information or to receive a copy of the Louisiana Citizens Awareness & Disaster Evacuation Guide, contact:
Louisiana State Police 1-800-469-4828
American Red Cross 1-800-229-8191
Louisiana Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness 1-225-925-7500