The COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world how important it is to always be prepared for an emergency.
The full theme for 2020 National Preparedness Month (NPM) is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” It’s good advice for everyone, but with one in four people with disabilities already living in poverty, taking steps to mitigate the negative impact of disasters and other emergencies is crucial.
Ready.gov, an official website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), outlines weekly themes for National Preparedness Month that include Making A Plan, Building A Kit and Preparing for Disasters. Key elements of these themes include education – getting informed about the risk of disasters where you live and exploring what can be done to insure against them – and communication – talking to friends, family and support networks about emergency plans, and taking into consideration your own and others’ unique needs. Planning for these needs requires thinking about how an emergency can affect people living with a disability, as well as financial preparedness.
National Disability Institute (NDI) also offers resources to help people with disabilities become financially prepared before, during and after an emergency, including the new Financial Resilience Center. Financial resilience is the ability to bounce back through difficult times and emerge stronger on the other side. The Center includes resources such as Quick Tips for Financial Health and free Online Financial Wellness Training.
The disability community faces barriers that hinder full participation in their communities, including access to employment and financial services, that can make managing the uncertainty of an emergency more difficult. As hurricane season ramps up and the country continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no better month to bring awareness to preparedness.
For more information about National Preparedness Month, visit Ready.gov. For resources and assistance to help those with disabilities and chronic health conditions navigate financially through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, visit NDI’s Financial Resilience Center.