Disaster and Recovery

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.

continued below video...

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.

continued below ...

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!

Have you had to respond to a disaster?

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.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Dealing with Disability and Disaster using Homeopathy Remedies 
It was Sept 12. I was working at the Pier, a temporary shelter for the families of those missing from the World Trade Towers. On that day, no one had …

Trapped in a Power Blackout 
Our family was affected in the great northeast blackout of 2003, which affected millions of Ontarians and lasted several days. When the power failure hit …

Dealing with disability and a disaster 
The National Research Council released a report last month that finds local governments ill prepared for evacuating people with disabilities from a disaster, …

Our special needs family experience of the propane explosion in Toronto 
An incredibly loud bang woke up my husband and I. We thought it was thunder - very close we thought. We waited for lightning. But it didn't come. …

Click here to write your own.

You may be interested in....

Since you're interested in disability related products, you may also be interested in the following products recommended by our affiliate partners, at no extra cost to you.  Just click on any product, and you'll be taken to the merchant for that product.

Note that the recommendations are auto-generated, so may not match automatically.  But you can also do a search for any product you like just below the product options.    Hope that helps!

Comments are moderated - by a human who also lives offline.  
Please allow up to 48 hours before comments are displayed.

comments powered by Disqus

The Special Life Newsletter

Sign up now to get news and special offers from The Special Life in our occasional Newsletter.