Technology has become an essential element of everyday life for many who are blind or otherwise disabled. But what should one do to prepare for the time when modern technology doesn’t work, or is unable to work optimally?
The Blind Bargains Qast is a podcast devoted to technology news and information for the blind and physically handicapped. Cohost Joe Steinkam shared some tips on emergency preparedness for the blind on Blind Bargains Qast 112 in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in South Texas and Louisiana.
Joe’s tips are reproduced here with permission.
Protect your valuable documents…
Grab a slate and stylus, or that old fashioned Brailler, and jot down your important numbers. Insurance policies, medical information, your family’s social security numbers and other information you think you might need in order to verify your medical or residential status.
Then, after all that is down on hard copy Braille, put it in waterproof bags with Braille labels on them. Keep them somewhere safe, yet easy to get to. That way you have them if you have to leave your home quickly.
Check your lighting conditions…
Use the help of others, or Vision Assistance Apps, to make sure all your indoor and outdoor lighting is working properly. Also, be sure to have a flashlight and fresh batteries on hand. This will help others, including First Responders, help you in dire situations.
Food And Crates…
If you have a Service Animal, or just family pets, be sure to have about a week’s worth of food on hand. It may take a while to reach your area if you were to become cut off due to flooding or downed power lines. So making sure those furry friends have enough to eat is paramount.
Moreover, if you do have to evacuate, many shelters will not accept pets without them being housed in a crate or cage. You don’t want to leave them behind. So be sure they have these things available to them.
Battery Packs and Generators…
Refrigerators, phones and laptops are all important devices in our lives. Until the power goes that is. Then you really find out how much you need them.
Making sure you have the resources on hand to run them for longer periods of time, during a power outage, can be one of the most important aspects of managing life off the power grid. Be sure to invest in batteries for radios, and other electronics, as this will allow you to find out news and weather updates for your local area.
Homeowners may want to look into the purchase of a portable generator for running the icebox. But those who live in apartments may want to be sure they own an ice chest for keeping food and medical supplies cool.
Lastly, look into waterproof cases for your electronics.
If your phone, laptop or notetaker is your primary form of access, providing the ability to
keep it safe from the elements is key when you are forced to travel for whatever reason.
Joe Steinkamp is no stranger to the world of technology, having been a user of video magnification and blindness related electronic devices since 1979. Joe has worked in radio, retail management and Vocational Rehabilitation for blind and low vision individuals in Texas. He has been writing about the A.T. (Assistive Technology) Industry for10 years and podcasting about it for nearly 5 years.
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