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Emergency Preparedness office

Doctor with Soldier with PTSD

Tips for People with Psychiatric Disabilities

This fact sheet is designed to provide a checklist of activities for people with disabilities to improve their emergency preparedness readiness.

 

Preparation may seem like a lot of work. It is. Preparing does take time and effort. So do a little at a time, as your energy and budget permit. The important thing is to start preparing. The more you do, the more confident you will be that you can protect yourself, your family and your belongings.

 

Activity

Date Completed

 Practice how to communicate your needs.

________________

Anticipate the types of reactions you may have after a disaster and plan strategies for coping with these reactions.

________________

Keep instructions with you for treatment if you are hospitalized.

________________

 

Communication

Think through what a rescuer might need to know about you and be prepared to say it briefly, or keep a written copy with you - for example:

  • I have a psychiatric disability. In an emergency I may become confused. Help me find quiet corner and I should be fine in approximately 10 minutes.
  • I have a panic disorder. If I panic, give me one green pill (name of medication) located in my (purse, wallet, pocket, etc.).
  • I take Lithium and my blood level needs to be checked every _____________.

Reactions

  • There are a number of emotional reactions that may occur or become more severe after a disaster. These reactions include: confusion, thought processing and memory difficulties, agitation, paranoia, crying, fear, panic, pacing, shouting, depression, withdrawal, irritability, anxiety, shaking and sleep disturbance.
  • Think through the types of reactions you may anticipate having and plan strategies for coping with these reactions.
  • Consider seeking input from your friends, family, therapist or service provider(s).
  • Be prepared to have members of your personal support network offer emotional support so you can acknowledge and express feelings about the disaster.

 

Treatment Instructions

You may need medical assistance. You even may be hospitalized. Keep instructions with you for your care and treatment, or a copy of a durable power of attorney for health so that someone you have chosen may intervene for you.

 

Information adapted from Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco and the American Red Cross.​​

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