This post was guest-written by Team Blue (Kyrie-Inn Blue with help from Tao Blue, Service Dog, Canine Good Citizen; and Mijo, Service Dog In Training).
Often disabled folks are too busy trying to survive day to day that they neglect tackling the emergency preparedness necessities that may just save their lives, their health, their property, their sanity, and their independent living status. Where do you store your important documents? How can someone track you in a SHTF (“sh*t hits the fan”) situation? Do you have a plan in place for solid shelter if you face a storm? If so, what do you need to have on hand to create viability? Two weeks without power has faced Team Blue on multiple occasions. Let us help you avoid omissions in your checklists!!
Today’s topic: managing your phone for crisis situations 🙂
We all need to seriously evaluate our personal emergency preparedness on at least a quarterly basis, rather than wait until the weatherman predicts a “superstorm.” Emergencies of all kinds happen on a daily basis, even those that are un-weather- related, like fires, certain types of evacuations, identity theft, etc. Can you efficiently respond to rather than freeze in a crisis? Team Blue knows it’s easier said than done… unless you have taken the time to prepare, equip, and practice.
- If you do not have a cell phone, save your money so you can get the best plan and phone possible. Lifeline and Safelink offer phones at zero or minimal cost to people who are under an income limit and/or receive state services like Medicaid and SNAP. You can apply online at: www.safelinkwireless.com, www.assurancewireless.com and other sites as well.
- Have your phone on a charger as often as possible. It will not help you if it is not charged. Make sure you have at least two extra chargers, so you can have one in your BOB (“bug out bag” – to be discussed in a later post) and another in your bedroom.
- If you have a vehicle, get the 12-volt charger as well. You can charge your phone as you drive and also charge it from your car battery when electricity fails. (In these situations make sure to have the car idling so you do not kill your car battery.) Amazon.com has every charger out there at extremely reasonable prices. Often phone accessory bundles will save you even more money. Consider getting a small solar charger as well. We have used them often and saved ourselves countless times from a dead phone.
- Have your phone wherever you are. Turn it to vibrate or silent at bedtime, but do not leave it in another room. If a fire breaks out in the bedroom, you will be able to grab it as you exit (probably through a window!) and call for help.
- Go through your important phone numbers and spend the time to put them into the phone in an organized fashion. You will need to decide in what order they are placed. Then label what makes sense for you individually as ICE (“in case of emergency”) numbers. If emergency personnel need to get into your phone, they will have the proper contacts for your case and can locate the people who can best help you in that given situation. Our personal examples look something like this (your mileage will vary):
- ICE 1 numbers include our psychologist and our caseworkers.
- ICE 2 numbers include our service dog’s vet and landlord contact information.
- ICE 3 numbers include our doctors.
- Label other numbers correctly, like “Pet Poison Control” and “Human (or People) Poison Control.”
- Specify which of your doctors do what, like “Dr. Lorbar, Cardiologist.” This again not only helps you remember who does what for you, but will help emergency responders assist you in finding proper help.
- Ask, ask, ask your caseworkers, tribe, friends, or family for help organizing these if you need that. They will gladly walk you through.
Team Blue thanks you for honoring your commitment to staying safe… no matter what!!
This is Part 1 in a 3-part emergency preparedness series. Look out for Part 2 tomorrow on what to stock in your residence for various emergency situations!