When a fire breaks out, evacuating someone with a mobility impairment can take a little extra planning to execute safely. While it’s always tough to think clearly in the heat of a crisis, a little proactive prep can give you simple steps to follow that speed up evacuation if you, or someone you care for, has a mobility impairment.
Thankfully, this planning needn’t be expensive or overly complex — and can be closely based on standard evacuation plans and best practices that are then personalized and adapted for your needs. For example, part of planning for a fire evacuation includes packing a go bag, that ensures you’ve got all you need for a few days stay away from home. While everyone can follow the general guidelines, the trick is in ensuring you include the mobility aids, medicines and so on that are specific to your needs.
From what to pack in your evacuation kit, to which mobility aids perform best in an emergency, start preparing your comprehensive evacuation bag with these tips.
What to Pack in Your Evacuation Kit
Keeping a go-to bag stocked will make an emergency evacuation quicker, and a lot less stressful. Keep it somewhere that’s easy-to-find and accessible for yourself, caregivers or emergency professionals who might be assisting you during an evacuation.
Here are the 12 must-have items to start with, before personalizing to suit your needs:
- Evacuation map, clearly marking your safest and most accessible routes
- First aid kit and ice wraps
- 7 days supply of prescribed medication
- Change of clothing
- Toiletries and sanitary products
- Instructions for operating your mobility equipment and/or evacuation aid
- Water resistant folder containing copies of important documents, including a list of medication, proof of address, passports, birth certificates, and insurance policies
- Credit card and cash
- Contact information sheet for caregivers and emergency services
- Cellphone with charger
- If you have a pet, pack their essentials too, including leashes, beds, food, water bowls, pet passport, and medication
- Charging cables or spare batteries, for hearing aids or other essential devices
If you live in an area prone to wildfires, an evacuation may find you away from home for longer. Consider packing in these extras:
- Battery-powered or hand crack radio
- Flashlight, fully charged or with new batteries
- 3 days supply of non-perishable food and water
- whistle or bell
Ideally, use a durable bag or backpack that’s easy for you to use, and is flame retardant and water resistant. Also, regularly check the expiration dates on your products, from medication to toothpaste, and refresh the kit every so often.Keep in mind that these are just starting points, and only you will know how best to prepare the necessary support you may need in case of an emergency fire evacuation.
Why Evacuation Chairs Are the Go-To Companion to an Emergency Bag
Your regular mobility aid may not be the best option in a crisis. For example, a permanent stairlift may not be operational, or fast enough, to help during a fire.
Emergency evacuation aids are an essential stand-by, as they’re designed to speed up your evacuation, without compromising on safety, and they don’t require electricity to function. And, within these, emergency evacuation chairs are particularly useful for homeusers, as you can store them alongside your go bag, conveniently out of the way until they’re needed.
Evacuation chairs are easy-to-operate, are quick to deploy, and — most importantly — don’t need specialist training to use safely.
Investing in an evacuation chair as part of your emergency preparedness can offer unparalleled peace of mind and value. However, with so many different types of evacuation chair available, finding one that works for you can be tough. Answering these questions first, can help you narrow down your options:
- How often do you intend to use the evacuation chair?
- What’s the maximum weight the chair needs to carry?
- What type of assistance do you need?
- Do you plan to store the chair at home, or carry it with you when you travel?
- Does your apartment block or condominium complex already have evacuation equipment?
- What kinds of staircases would you need to traverse, and how many?
- What is your budget?
At Mobile Stairlift, we’ve made it our mission to support those with mobility impairments as a partner in mobility freedom, including during emergencies. We’ve created an affordable, durable and FDA-approved evacuation chair that’s lightweight and easy to use and store. Get to know the EZ Evacuation Chair, by clicking the button below.