Tornado Information for People with Disabilities
Published : 2013-06-02 - Updated : 2021-04-20
Author : Thomas C. Weiss - Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Synopsis* : Information for disabled and people with medical conditions in regards to protecting themselves during an emergency such as a tornado. Those who have special dietary needs should take additional precautions and have an adequate emergency food supply. Keep extra oxygen, wheelchair batteries, medications, catheters, food for hearing or guide dogs and additions items you might need, as well as a list of the type and serial numbers of the medical devices you use.
A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extending between, and in contact with, a cloud and the surface of the earth. Tornadoes are generally spawned by thunderstorms, though they have been known to occur without the presence of lightning. The stronger tornadoes attain an intensity, with wind speeds that exceed 200 mph and in extreme cases may approach 300 mph.
Tornadoes are the most unpredictable, violent, and sudden storms on planet earth. They are not like hurricanes that occur over open waters and may take days to reach land. Tornadoes are spawned from thunderstorms that form when warm and humid air meets a mass of dry and cool air. Only one in a hundred thunderstorms produces a tornado. The storms happen rapidly and many times remain on the ground for only a few minutes.
The state of Florida receives the most tornados of any state in America, while a strip of land that reaches from northeast Texas through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri has more tornadoes than any other place in the United States. The area is referred to as, 'Tornado Alley.' A safe room may provide people with life saving protection from the forces of tornadoes and severe winds. You might not have enough time to seek shelter outside of the home you live in during a tornado.
People with disabilities or medical conditions might have to take additional steps to protect themselves during an emergency such as a tornado. If you have family members, friends, or neighbors with disabilities help them with the following additional precautions. People with disabilities may require assistance and more lead time to prepare for such a disaster. The list below provides you with some practical tips for people with disabilities during an emergency.
- If you call 911, tap the space bar to engage the TDD system.
- Keep a whistle, bell, or flashlight at hand to signal your location to other people.
- Consider installing an alarm with a strobe light outside of your home to alert neighbors.
- If you live in an apartment building ask the management to clearly mark accessible exits.
- Register with your local fire department, emergency management, and volunteer centers.
- Install fire safety devices in your home such as smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and a flashlight.
- If you experience a mobility impairment and work or live in a high-rise building have an escape chair.
- Have an alternative means of communication such as a writing tablet, a dry erase board, or markers.
- Identify a number of evacuation routes at your home and at work, and ask your employer to include and test the plans.
- Test your alarms and extinguishers on a regular basis and replace the batteries in your smoke alarms every six months.
- Stock additional emergency supplies such as blankets, batteries, medications, cash, water, non-perishable foods, and a weather radio.
- Post emergency instructions on your refrigerator, including a list of the equipment you need, medication dosages, and emergency contact numbers.
- Create a personal support network of family members, friends, and neighbors who can help in disaster preparations and getting you to a place that is safe.
- Carry emergency health information and contacts with you all the time. A medical alert bracelet or tag to identify the disabilities you experience can be helpful.
- If you use a battery-operated wheelchair, life-support system, or other equipment that is power-dependent - call your power company before a power outage threatens.
- Keep extra oxygen, wheelchair batteries, medications, catheters, food for hearing or guide dogs and additions items you might need, as well as a list of the type and serial numbers of the medical devices you use.
A number of utility companies maintain a map and list of the locations of customers who are power-dependent in case of an emergency. Ask your utility companies what alternatives are available in your area. Contact the customer service department of your utility companies to find out if this service is available where you live.
If you use a power wheelchair or a scooter keep an extra battery. A car battery might also be used with a wheelchair, but it will not last as long as a wheelchair's deep-cycle battery. Store a lightweight manual wheelchair for backup.
If you are blind or experience a visual disability, store a Braille or talking clock, or a large-print timepiece with additional batteries. If you are deaf or experience a hearing loss, consider getting a small portable battery-operated television set. Emergency broadcasts might provide information in American Sign Language (ASL) or through captions.
People with visual impairments might be extremely reluctant to leave surroundings that are familiar to them when the request for evacuation comes from a person they do not know. A guide dog may become disoriented or confused during a disaster. People with visual impairments may have to depend on other people to lead them or their guide dog to safety during a disaster.
People who experience a hearing impairment might need to make arrangements to receive warnings. Those who experience mobility impairments may need assistance to get to shelter. People who do not have a vehicle may need to make arrangements for transportation.
Those who have special dietary needs should take additional precautions and have an adequate emergency food supply. Anyone with a medical condition needs to know the location and availability of more than one facility if they are dependent on a dialysis machine for example, or other life-sustaining treatment or equipment. People with intellectual disabilities might need assistance with responding to emergencies and getting to shelter. Remember that during a disaster such as a tornado, helping your neighbor means everything.
About the Author
Thomas C. Weiss attended college and university courses earning a Masters, Bachelors and two Associate degrees, as well as pursing Disability Studies. As a Nursing Assistant Thomas has assisted people from a variety of racial, religious, gender, class, and age groups by providing care for people with all forms of disabilities from Multiple Sclerosis to Parkinson's; para and quadriplegia to Spina Bifida.
You're reading Disabled World. Be sure to check out our homepage for further informative disability news, reviews, disability sports events, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Related Emergency Planning Documents
- 1 - Underlying Medical Conditions That Increase Risk of Serious COVID-19 Illness for All Ages : List of medical conditions and factors that can place a person diagnosed with the novel coronavirus at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms and side effects, of COVID-19.
- 2 - Preparing for Natural Disaster for People with Disabilities and Other Special Needs : Helpful excerpts from the FEMA and American Red Cross booklet on helping people with disabilities, seniors, and special needs population, prepare for emergencies.
- 3 - Overseas Emergency Services Phone Numbers : Printable reference chart of 911 equivalent overseas emergency services telephone numbers including Police, Ambulance and Fire listed by country or region.
- 4 - NYC Emergency Management Disability Awareness Prep Talk Podcast : NYC Emergency Management latest prep talk podcast focuses on disability awareness - Special guests discuss the importance of preparing the disability community.
- 5 - Quake Kare Launches Portable Camping Survival Kit : All sales proceeds from this new Camping Survival Kit from the nonprofit Quake Kare unit of Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis go directly to Lighthouse programs for people who are visually impaired.
*Disclaimer: Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World. View our Advertising Policy for further information. Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.
Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Thomas C. Weiss. Electronic Publication Date: 2013-06-02 - Revised: 2021-04-20. Title: Tornado Information for People with Disabilities, Source: <a href=https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/emergency/tornado.php>Tornado Information for People with Disabilities</a>. Retrieved 2021-05-05, from https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/emergency/tornado.php - Reference: DW#344-9744.