Disaster Preparedness/Outreach to Those With Special Needs
The Orange County Department of Public Health has utmost concern for the safety of all its citizens, especially during county-wide emergencies. It urges all citizens to take steps to prepare for any type of emergency that may befall our communities. In particular, it has special concern for those it describes as “special populations” during these situations. Its focus is to identify members of our population who may be elderly, have limited mobility or other special needs (medical, faith-based considerations, the ability to drive a car, limited access to transportation or special physical living conditions) and be able to reach these members of the population and provide required assistance during any crisis.
While the topic can be extremely tedious, especially on a county-wide level, the existing conditions for our own community make this element of preparedness much less difficult. Living in close proximity to one another, logistical concerns that come with responding over a great distance is eliminated, language barriers that can often be a problem are for the most part a non-factor and the relative small size of our population makes community outreach a very simple task.
On the County’s recommendation, this community has prepared a questionnaire/notice available to homeowners that expresses the concern of the Board and describes in short detail, potential hazards that may require an immediate evacuation, in particular:
- Earthquakes and Tsunamis
- Train Derailments
- San Onofre Nuclear Accidents
The questionnaire/notice suggests practical courses of action an individual might take to prepare and possibly save themselves and invites any person with special needs to identify themselves to the County Dept. of Public Health.
It is intuitive that tsunamis require escaping to high ground but perhaps it may not have occurred to some to check on neighbors ahead of time who may require assistance during such an emergency or to check on their level of readiness to evacuate their homes, making sure they don’t leave home without survival essentials (wallet or purse, cash, credit cards, medications, emergency kit, etc.). Planning ahead can prove to be very helpful and life-saving.
The District recommends that homeowners make themselves accountable to take measures to prepare for emergencies requiring not only evacuation but also forced quarantine or containment within their respective homes. The American Red Cross, FEMA, the County and the City of Dana Point (along with other government agencies and municipalities) all provide preparedness information for your use.
For your information and convenience, the District suggests availing yourselves to the “Disaster Preparedness Report” and the “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” brochure links below for more information on how you might better prepare yourself for any emergency.
Disaster Preparedness Report (Report is temporarily removed for revisions)