Emergency Preparedness Training Makes Great Impact On Individuals With Disabilities

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Nate, Mary and Brian sharing their " to go" bags at Minute Man ArcThis week’s blog entry includes comments from Mary Blauvelt, who attended an emergency preparedness training given by self-advocate Nate Trull in 2010. Read on for more of her thoughts.

As a Board Member for Minuteman ARC based in Concord, Massachusetts, and co-president of its internal group SAFE (Self-Advocacy For Everyone), Mary Blauvelt understands the challenges that individuals with disabilities can face. One of the biggest involves being prepared in case of an emergency. Emergencies can take any form at any time, and knowing what to do may save someone’s life. To that end, the ARC invited self-advocate Nate Trull to present a workshop in May, 2010, and a follow-up in October 2010.

Why we need to be prepared

“I hadn’t really thought about emergencies before, except when the weathermen would say a watch or warning was coming”, Blauvelt said. “But Nate’s training really taught me about why it was important for people with disabilities to be prepared. What if someone uses a wheelchair and can’t leave independently? What if someone cannot hear the news reports telling them to leave? There need to be plans, so that people with disabilities can help themselves.”

A “go bag” for everyone

GO Bags
Blauvelt especially liked Trull’s recommendation of a “go bag”; that is, an easily portable bag of items that you can just “grab and go” when an emergency hits.

“That was really fun and I learned a lot. We all made our own go bags during the training, and Nate helped us realize what should go in them. We put in things like a portable radio, non-perishable food and water, a list of any medicines we take, a phone with a cord, manual flashlights and batteries.”

Being prepared is helpful for all

Trull’s training covered other topics as well, like developing an emergency plan, and making a list of people who could help out in an emergency. Trull’s interest in emergencies and assisting others dates back to his time as a “Life Scout” in the Boy Scouts organization.

“Doing these emergency preparedness trainings really means a lot. I truly enjoy helping people, advocate for themselves, and increasing their knowledge when I’m done,” he said.

Blauvelt agreed, especially in her case. “I feel much better prepared for emergencies now. Nate’s presentation was very helpful, and I hope information like his will help many more people.”

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