On August 10th, 2008, my family and I were blocks away from disaster - a propane facility exploded in the middle of the night, causing at least two major explosions, and over 350 smaller explosions throughout the night.
Our special needs family escaped this propane explosion blocks from our home.
This was the scene from our front yard while our family figured out how to respond to this disaster.
You can watch this video below showing the second major explosion. And, as you can see, the explosion was large enough to make international headlines, sampled below.
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It was a terrifying experience. We were just far away enough that we had a few moments to hurriedly grab some supplies before we left. We have a child with cerebral palsy serious enough that he requires daily medication to control seizures and his disabilities require us to think about specific needs for feeding, drinking and toileting. He doesn't walk, so we also have mobility equipment to consider. He doesn't talk, so we have to consider how we can interpret for him, or give him tools so that he can try to "talk" to others in a way that can be understood.
We were lucky. We had enough time to gather together what we needed so that most of those needs could be met. But as we drove away, not knowing how soon we could return, or if we could return at all, I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach about how well we could cope. Here is how our family responded to the disaster.
Like most people, we've seen the commercials telling us that we should always be prepared for a disaster. And, like most people, we've never done anything about it.
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Dealing with disaster is hard enough for anybody. But if someone in your family has a disability, or other special needs, it can become extremely difficult.
And any organization dealing with the public has got to consider these issues as well. Would you be prepared in your workplace, or while traveling?
If you have a family with special needs, have you ever been in a similar situation? Or have your ever been in a position to help others with a disability deal with disaster and recovery?
We'd love to hear from you. Any information you can share about your experiences in disaster response or recovery would be great!
If you have someone with special needs in your family and have had to respond to a disaster, tell us what happened.
How did you cope? What went well? What didn't? What would you do differently? What services do you wish were in place?
Or, if you're with an organization that helps people with disabilities deal with disasters and emergency preparedness, we'd love to hear from you too!
It's important to share information so that we can learn from each other.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
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