In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, we have been preparing. Chrysalis has taken the following steps to protect the individuals we serve:
In a disaster power and communication infrastructure is often damaged which means there is no way to communicate. When all else fails HAM radios work and are an effective means to communicate.
Every Chrysalis administrator receives a portable HAM radio and is a federally licensed HAM radio operator. Chrysalis encourages our administrators to become trained and actively participate in the amateur radio emergency service and other emergency response organizations in order to become part of the community emergency response system. Being part of that system provides opportunities to educate and make the emergency response community aware of the special needs population. Chrysalis is striving to become an important part of that system by supporting our administrators in their local emergency amateur radio associations.
Each house is equipped with an emergency 72 hour kit as well as additional emergency food storage that will feed both the individuals being served as well as the staff. Each kit contains additional emergency supplies like flash lights, outdoor cooking supplies, and a natural gas shut off tool.
While the body can go days or weeks without food the body needs water to survive. Chrysalis stocks adequate supplies of water in each home to make sure the individuals will be safe.
Every Chrysalis employee is trained in CPR and First Aid and each house contains an emergency first aid kit to treat minor wounds caused by the disaster.
Chrysalis has a detailed emergency plan in place. The plan includes required communication and the actions each employee should take in an emergency. Each administrator is assigned to a preset area and is required to check on each house and call in to the base station to report any needs using the HAM radios. As part of that plan we also place an emergency flip chart in each house that allows employees working with the individuals a quick and efficient way to determine what actions need to take place in an emergency situation.
Following Hurricane Katrina and the California wild fires the National Council on Disability issued a report stating that most government plans fail to consider the most vulnerable Americans in their emergency plans. The federal government issued a report titled "Effective Emergency Management: Making Improvements for Communities and People with Disabilities." This report stated that the exclusion of issues affecting the disabled from disaster planning is a long standing problem and that the details "have typically been limited to a few lines in an emergency plan, if they are mentioned at all." The report continues "Although some improvements in this area is evident, catastrophic events such as Hurricane Katrina and the California wildfires exposed the gaps that still exist in many emergency plans and preparedness efforts. . . These events reinforce the need for additional action to protect the lives of people with disabilities against the destructive nature of disasters."
Emergency planners and government officials are generally unfamiliar and unaware of the unique needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. A special report from the Special Needs Assessment for Katrina Evacuees found that many emergency shelter planners had little interaction with the disabled community before Hurricane Katrina.
At Chrysalis we feel that the responsibility of preparedness starts with the person and with Chrysalis. History has shown that we can't expect emergency services to support our individuals in the beginning. We have implemented a detailed emergency response plan along with emergency supplies so each individual will have the best chance of survival until additional help can arrive.