Emergency Preparedness for Children with Special Needs Following a Therapeutic Diet
By Sybille Kraft Bellamy
How to Gather Emergency Supplies
When Hurricane Sandy hit the East coat in 2012 we lost electric power for 5 days and were under a curfew for a week with limited access to our regular food sources of supply.
My son Max celebrated his 11 birthday with candles, a lot of candles! Candles were the main source of light in our kitchen. We have a generator and we used it most of the day to recharge our laptop, phone and fridge and to keep our furnace going.
We had known for days that our area would be on the storm’s path. We were not particularly concerned by the flooding because we are located on a hill, but we knew we might lose power and we did.
It made me realize how quickly life can change and disaster can strike. Sandy did not affect us too much. Max was safe in our house and I had enough food stored for him. Still, I became aware of how unprepared I was to cope with the needs of a child like Max if things had been worse. What if we had had to evacuate? Would I have had time to pack everything I needed for him: his rescue medication, his food, his clothes and diapers? In the middle of a crisis, would I have remembered everything I needed to take along?
I decided I had to learn what it would take for me to be prepared. Here is what I have discovered and would like to share with you:
Our angels are extremely sensitive to stress; a new situation, new environment and a new routine can be challenging. If we had to evacuate for any reason it would be quick, with no warning, and most likely in a panic mode.
As a result, Max would be exposed to a different environment, to noise and light in a shelter, and to new people. Most likely he would also become sleep deprived and I would not be able to prepare his usual meals and follow his special diet. All theses factors can trigger seizures, as we know.
Most of the time when a hurricane or a snowstorm hits you will receive a warning. But if an unpredictable natural or man-made disaster strikes you will have no time to plan and you will have to leave.
Every situation is different and each child may have different and very specific needs but here is a list of basic things you will need and a list of websites where you can get information to help you be better prepared.
Disaster Supplies Kit
A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items that could be needed in the event of a disaster. For our children with special needs we need very specific things.
It is recommended to have the following:
For more information, please visit:
CDC Emergency Risk Communication Branch (ERCB)
Division of Emergency Operations (DEO)
Office of Public Heath Preparedness and Response (OPHPR)
The American Red Cross .Get a survival kit
“ Are you ready? An in-depth guide to citizen preparedness.(Publication No.IS-22) (2004 August) Basic preparation pages 13-46
FEMA Are you ready? Recovering from Disaster.