News

When natural disasters strike

2020 has started with terrible fires, cyclones and floods, which means that preparedness is more important than ever.

Here’s how you and your powerchair can stay equipped and prepared during a natural disaster.

As everyone who uses a powerchair knows it’s important to have your emergency plan in place before any critical incident arrives on your doorstep.

Have a plan. Talk with friends, family and carers about your intentions in a time of danger and your evacuation plan – where you would like to meet, what you would like to take with you and how you would like to travel. Make sure this is clearly written down.

Be alert. One of the primary things to remember is to make sure your powerchair is fully charged the moment warning alerts are issued. Significant weather changes, road closures and updates from service providers are important to follow so you know when you are totally prepared.

Talk to your energy retailer. It is impossible to prevent all risks that electricity

disconnection can cause. However, there are some steps you can take to access protections from disconnection if you or someone in your home is registered as a user of life support equipment with your electricity retailer. The electricity retailer will require written confirmation from a registered medical practitioner. It is a good idea to call them and ask what kind of documentation they need—as they may have a form that you can ask your doctor to complete.

Set up a virtual meeting place. An instant messaging group chat with friends and family, or a social media site like WhatsApp, Facebook or even Instagram, can give your loved ones extra information during a time of crisis.

Download emergency services apps. These official apps will give you the most up-to-date information on what’s happening in your area, including natural disaster warnings.

Nothing beats having a good plan ready in advance.

Use local information sources. Online, dashboards and social media accounts for your local councils and authorities and emergency services will share crucial information. Your local broadcaster will also share information over the radio – make sure you have a battery-powered radio or car radio to listen in on. Ask the question whether evacuation centres have disability access and accessible locations to charge batteries.

Leave early. You don’t want to be caught in damaging winds or expose your powerchair to rain and water. Leave for safer ground, evacuation centres or civic spaces, well before you are required to.

Do you have any advice for powerchair users about how you prepare and plan? Let us know what you do.

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