Prepping for a hurricane when you are disabled can cause a lot of anxiety. There is a lot of things disabled people have to think about that abled do not and it makes a lot of people nervous. Within the next couple of days, hurricane Dorian is expected to hit Florida(which is the area I live in), and for some people that may make them feel panicked and not knowing what to do! When you are disabled often times you feel more anxious when hurricanes hit because evacuating to a shelter is not always an option because the reality of it is that they are not all accessible for all disabled people. Some people can’t evacuate even if they wanted to. Hurricanes are going to occur sometimes in some areas whether you like or not or just find it a major inconvenience. Hurricane prep can be very stressful but you can make it a little less stressful by planning ahead and taking a few simple precautions.
Plan ahead- Often times, when you are shopping for a hurricane everything you need is out of stock because everyone has the same idea. Don’t wait to start your hurricane shopping until the day before it’s supposed to hit because chances are most people will also be doing that same thing and you won’t get everything you need because most things will be out of stock. Start your shopping early so you can guarantee you will have enough supplies.
Try not to panic- You have two types of people when it comes to hurricanes: ones that panic and buy every case of water from every store they can and then you have those people that don’t let it faze them because after all, you should expect hurricanes if you live in Florida. I am more the relaxed type because I refuse to let myself go into panic mode. You want to take hurricanes seriously and take necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe but what you don’t want to do is panic because all that will do is make you more anxious. Don’t watch the weather report every ten minutes because it’s likely the conditions will not change that often. It’s important you stay informed with what is happening with the weather but don’t be obsessive about it. If you are having trouble doing that and can’t think about anything else then find a distraction that can help get your mind off of it for a while. What activities do you normally do when you’re anxious?
Stock up on your meds- When you lose power after a hurricane sometimes it can be quite some time before you get it back. You could lose power after a hurricane, as well as your pharmacy can, and in those instances you want to be prepared and have any refills for any medications you may need. If you run out of medication during the hurricane you will be stuck because you will have to wait until the power comes back on and who knows when that will be. Think ahead so that doesn’t happen and make sure you are stocked up on all your medications.
Charge your phone- When you are disabled you don’t always have the option to go to a shelter because some of them are not accessible for all disabilities! Charge your phone and use it only for emergencies until the storm passes and you have power. You can never plan for an unexpected emergency and it would be a real bummer if you got stuck and couldn’t call someone because your phone was dead. Portable cell-phone chargers can also help prevent this from happening and give you more battery life but even portable charges will need to be charged eventually. Be very mindful of how much you are using your phone and what you are using it for.
Secure your mobility aids- One of a disabled person’s prized possessions is their mobility aids! We can’t leave our house without them so if something happened to them we would be devasted because they aren’t always in the budget to replace. Secure your mobility aids in a safe place where they won’t get ruined and you can access them quickly just in case you need to evacuate! If you have mobility aids that you don’t use every day but are still a necessity don’t leave them in the driveway but instead, bring them inside in a place where they won’t get ruined.
Buy a few good books/download movies- During a hurricane, there will be power outages and most of the things you would normally do you can’t when you have no power but no power does not have to consist of staring at the wall until your power comes back on. If you have a tablet download a few movies from Netflix that you can watch while you wait or buy a few books ahead of time that you can read to help pass the time. There is no loss in buying a new book that you can enjoy even if you don’t lose power because now you have new reading material!
Find the nearest shelter– Sometimes you may not be quite sure how well your home is going to hold up during a hurricane and don’t feel safe staying there during it. Shelters are a good back up plan if you need a place to stay but unfortunately for many disabled people, this can not even be considered as an option because some shelters are not accessible for all disabilities. In my experience as a disabled person evacuating when there is flooding is ten times harder than if you were to just go to a shelter ahead of time. If you are able to find a shelter that caters to people with disabilities you may want to do that because it will make your life infinitely easier. You can always go check on your home after the storm passes and if necessary make repairs. If your house took any severe damage that isn’t liveable you can always move in with friends and family until you get it back in order. It is always better to evacuate before the storm and be able to get out than be trapped after the storm and be stuck for who knows how long!
When prepping for a hurricane you want to do everything you can to secure your home and keep your family safe. If you have taken the necessary precautions then that is all you can do everything else is out of your control and worrying about it not going to make anything change. Personally, I don’t like to look at hurricanes it a negative way but look at it as an opportunity to spend more time with my family. During hurricanes, most people worry about flooding but luckily I don’t have to because I am not longer in a flood zone! The only thing that may concern is unmanageable pain levels but you do what you can and hope for the best! How do you prepare for a hurricane? Stay safe and those affected by the hurricane who have uncontrollable anxiety try to relax. It will be over before you know it and you’ll be able to get back to life.