Planning Ahead: Kevin’s Story

Strong storms, chemical spills, or other disasters can happen at any time, so it is important to have a plan and tools in place that can be used in many different situations. Before disasters strike, be sure to have an emergency plan in place for your family, especially if you have a child with a special health care need.

 Photo of hurricane evacuation sign with storm in the background.

Karen was prepared when Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav, and Isaac struck her southern town. She had experienced multiple natural disasters in her town that caused her to evacuate with her family, so she had emergency plans in place. Her son Kevin has multiple health conditions that require special care, including Down syndrome, autism, and a congenital heart defect. Karen had to prepare ahead of time by packing medications, comfort items, and health and school records that would help her care for Kevin during these evacuations.

Despite some challenges of evacuating, Karen was able to care for Kevin’s special health care needs during these emergencies, “because of extensive planning and preparation ahead of time,” she says. She suggests that families in similar situations “plan and plan big, like a business, and practice evacuating.”

Planning ahead can make it easier to respond to your child’s needs during an emergency. You can prepare a list of items that you will need, have extra supplies on hand, and practice different situations to help you think about what to do during an emergency. Visit the following sites for helpful information on how to plan for emergencies: