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Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

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    Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

    GJ subscribed to a newsletter Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center. Today the newsletter arrived in by email. One of articles was about Emergency Preparedness. See this link: the

    If you live in California you are abundantly aware of the emergencies we have experienced and are experiencing here. If you don't live in California, you've likely heard about California earthquakes, wild fires, floods, mudslides, and have your own kinds of emergencies where you live.

    Our natural gas and electric utility (PG&E in Northern CA) has a program known as PSPS or Public Safety Power Shutoff. During times of high winds, presence of fire, after an earthquake or presence of other disaster, if PG&E decides that electric power and natural gas need to be shutdown in areas to prevent damage, they will shutoff utilities with minimal notice. Once these utilities are off, they can't be quickly turned on again, because power lines and pipe lines must be inspected for damage, repaired, and only then can power be restored. If we are affected by a PSPS, we should expect to be without power for 3-5 days. Recently, local weather patterns and the timing of high wind warnings increased that expectation of being without power up to 10 days in areas of Northern California. Sheltering in place, if possible, is probably what most people would most like to do. But, how feasible is that for any of us, especially someone with and those who care for and about someone with a disability?

    Take sometime to formulate a plan and think about what you would need to survive if you would have to shelter in place for 5 days without electricity and/or natural gas. What do you need to have ready at almost a moments notice if you have to evacuate. It is not an easy exercise to grapple with. Having enough supplies and equipment available on a day to day basis is difficult enough without have to have redundant items packed ready to GO and rotated often to accommodate expiry dates.

    Another consideration is getting your personal transportation out of a home garage in case of electrical power outage. I don't live near the big fires in Sonoma County, but none the less, over the weekend when I lost power for just a few hours, I didn't know how long it might be before power was restored. Then a couple small fires popped up in near by locations, winds raged at 20-35 MPH for hours, and clearly anything could happen. No one knew what might happen next. Neighbors on the street called or came over and we talked what ifs. We hastily put together go bags, gathered important files and documents, and staged everything in the car/van or at the front door. And made sure that we had our battery operated radios and lights sources ready for night fall if we didn't evacuate.

    Power was off and my van was in the garage. The only way to get it out was to use the emergency release. Opening a garage door with an emergency release is not an easy job. The difficulty can be complicated by weak or out of balance springs, location of the release rope, weight of the door to name a few. We got my van out of the garage, but it was a 3 person job. After the emergency passed, I had a garage door company out on Tuesday to reattach the steel lift cables we had to release, replace old weak and out of balance springs, give the opener a tune up, and install a battery back up system to open the door in case of a power outage. It was delayed maintenance and an upgrade for safety.

    Just as an aside, in California, as of July 1. 2019, any new installation of garage doors and/or opener or replacement system, must have a battery back up system to open the garage door in the case of a power outage.

    Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to start the ball rolling in your heads about what you would do, if.

    Take good care everyone.

    Last edited by gjnl; 31 Oct 2019, 8:39 PM.

    VA nurse ask me this question once. I showed her a pic of me in front of my Jeep, with my chain saw and shot gun.


      Very valid concerns and thanks for reminding me. I live in Central AL. We have had occasional crippling winter storms. 1983 and 1993 being the worst where many roads were blocked for days by downed trees and ice. Interstate highways were closed for a few days in some locations. In '83 my parents were without power & water for over 2 weeks. They were fortunate to have a motorhome which they moved to behind their house and lived in it till the crisis was over. Same for '93 but it wasn't as bad for them. For me in '93 was worse, no power for 5 days. I had my 6 year old daughter who was was ill and had a fever. I was AB then and always stocked up on wood for fire place. For 4 days I'd sleep for a few hours, stoke fireplace, check on my girl, sleep a few hours, repeat. We lived in 1 room the whole time. I was totally exhausted at the end but thankful for the fire, baloney sandwiches, and cold cereal that kept us nurioushed. The last day my girl was much better and I took her out to play in deep snow (her first), bundled up and with sandwich bags taped to her shoes to keep feet dry. Grown now, that's all she remembers. We chukkel about it occasionally as that inspired me to get her some rubber boots.

      Tornado terror is to be expected here yearly. This results in power outages during and afterwards but usually is restored soon except for the unfortunate that are hit hard. April 2011 was bad. My dad had a bad car wreck days before storms. Surgery was postponed till he was stable. Barely stable but knowing storms were heading directly towards hospital, docs rushed him to emergency surgery to get him ahead of the victims that were sure to come. While he was under the knife, the hospital took a near direct hit. With emergency generators running and my family in emergency waiting area, the victims of the storm began pouring into treosh. Many sad stories I won't go into (told to me by family as I was guarding my home). Tornadoes everywhere around my home but luckily I had almost no damage. 1 mile from me didn't fair as well. My dad died July 2011. My mothers mind (early dementia) didn't take it well. A few weeks after his funeral I was injured. Another issue my mother didn't need.

      I got off topic a little, sorry. Lights w/batteries are so much safer than candles. Many AB homes burn because of this during emergencies. Candles with children, elderly, or disabled in the home is a dangerous formula. A back up generator would be nice but parts of my home has old wiring which would require updating before I could have the generator control box attached to home. I have a 2200 watt unit but don't think it would power much. Duck and cover or run and hide is my primary method of survival in bad storms. Fortunately my small town has a place I can go for warmth but we're on our own for Tornados.
      Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
      Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)


        Some cities in CA have a Disability Action Center that coordinates help to disabled people who depend on electricity 24/7 for survival, whether it is because they use oxygen or any other reason. The quickest way to find local resources who should have your name on file just-in-case is probably to contact your local fire department, and that would be true in most states. There are probably some Fire Departments that are clueless, but not many.


          Originally posted by baldfatdad View Post
          VA nurse ask me this question once. I showed her a pic of me in front of my Jeep, with my chain saw and shot gun.
          All VA's must be taught the same as I have been asked the same. I just replied, I am a believer and never alone. None of us know what can happen when or how bad or for how long, we do the best we can and God does the rest.


            Chamberlain makes a garage door opener with a battery back up which think it can open and close 5 times.


              good points for all of in Georgia I had a in home generator before I got hurt we had living quarters in our horse trailers we just move into now . if I have to evauate I throw all my medical supplies in van.

              put in a trashbag none are left. actually when micheal came thru I had dam never all my clothes in van to along with important papers. I have 2 generator here a 1000 watt solar and a 7500 watt propane with electic start. now I only so far have to deal with hurricane and we have advance warning which I heed