United Spinal equips wheelchair users to better weather disasters

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

KEW GARDENS, N.Y. - The United Spinal Association has launched a disaster preparedness initiative for individuals with spinal cord injuries and disorders designed to lessen the effects and risks associated with natural or human-caused disasters. “Read to Roll” addresses the significant challenges individuals living with disabilities face when disasters strike, especially those who rely on power wheelchairs, ventilators and other medical equipment and supplies. “Our goal is to help preserve the health and safety of individuals with disabilities in times of uncertainty and upheaval due to disasters through advanced planning, along with the preparation of professionals and local agencies,” said Abby Ross, United Spinal's COO. “Being equipped both intellectually and physically for unexpected events can save lives, lessen the emotional impact and facilitate a quicker adjustment in times of transition.” The initiative addresses planning for emergency evacuation, preparing for power outages, ensuring the safety of pets and service animals, safeguarding critical mobility equipment and supplies, and accessing local resources. In the coming months, United Spinal plans to distribute disaster readiness starter kits with items such as first aid kits, flashlights that easily attach to wheelchairs, wet wipes, garbage bags and emergency blankets.