Santa Monica Lookout
Forum Friday to Prepare the Most Vulnerable for Emergencies
By Lookout Staff
October 16, 2013 -- Coping with emergencies or disasters can be a stressful, and sometimes living-changing, experience. But it is even more so for the elderly and for those with disabilities.
On Friday, the Westside Center for Independent Living will hold an emergency preparedness forum to share critical information that can protect those who are most vulnerable during such events that can force people to leave or be confined in their homes.
“Typically, seniors and people with disabilities are disproportionately affected by such events,” the event organizers said. “Elderly people and those who have disabilities, as well as their family members should make plans to protect themselves in the event of disasters.
“They must know how to work with first responders who often need to evacuate them safely and quickly,” they said. “They must make their specific needs known to ensure that shelters are accessible to them based on their disabilities.”
They also should know what to put into their emergency kits and how to create a support team, organizers said.
“At a minimum, participants will learn about the four basic steps recommended by FEMA for persons with specific access and functional needs,” organizers said.
These include how to address individual needs during a disaster and how to make it alone without access to a medical facility or drugstore.
How to survive when resources you use on a daily basis are limited or simply no longer available, and how to build an emergency kit to maintain health, safety and independence.
Participating organizations include the LA County Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Mental Health, the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability, the Department of Water and Power, Southern California Edison and the Gas Company.
Other organizations participating are the Red Cross; the Santa Monica Office of Emergency Management, which will represent the Westside’s Disaster Management Area, and the City of LA Emergency Management Department.
“Each participating organization is responsible for describing their disaster preparedness, response and recovery programs in place for people with disabilities and seniors,” organizers said.
“This includes how people with disabilities can be the most prepared and arrange to have any specific services in place that they may need during and after area-wide disasters.”
The forum will be held at Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Westside Center for Independent Living, 12901 Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles.
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