Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Disaster Readiness for People with Paralysis and Other Disabilities

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A globe with buildings.

The logo for the world Institute on disability.


Text: disability and disaster readiness featuring ruff and ready.

A woman and a puppet of a dog.

Hi everyone, Im Marsha Saxton with the world Institute on disability and Id like

to introduce our host.

This is Ruff and ready, the disaster readiness service dog.

Ruff has some questions for us today and our expert panel.

Thanks for joining us.

An image of curtains and text: featuring.

A man with a disability and text: Vance Taylor, chief, access and functional needs, California

Governors office of emergency services.

Woman with a disability and text: Nikki Brown Booker, Executive Director, Easy Does It Emergency


A woman and text.

Jennifer Lazo, emergency services coordinator, city of Berkeley California.

A woman and text.

Marcie Roth, CEO, partnership for inclusive strategies.

Puppet of a dog.

First question: what is disaster readiness and why do we need to think about this?

Jennifer Lazo.

Here in California, we see a lot of disasters and in this country, we see a lot of different


Disaster readiness is making sure that youve done what you need to do to be safe and comfortable

if a disaster happens.

So it could be an earthquake, it could be a wildfire, it could even just be a fire that

starts in the kitchen of the place that you live.

But for any of those kinds of disasters, you want to take the time now to get yourself

ready so that you stay safe, so that everyone that you care about can stay safe with you

and so that you have what you need to keep functioning after.

Satellite of a large hurricane.

Broken asphalt after an earthquake.

Nikki Brown Booker: its important for people with paralysis to care about disasters and

to be ready, because there are so many issues that can affect them, so like in an earthquake,

they may be concerned about furniture falling in front of them, which may prevent them from

getting out safely.

Or like in a hurricane, they would have to, they might be concerned about whether they

are able to evacuate quickly enough.

And another issue is that shelters often are not accessible or they need to think about

accessibility for, for, at the shelter and make sure that they have care providers or

attendants with them so that they can get the services that when they are in the shelter.

Cots on a gymnasium floor.

Nikki Brown Booker: its a big thing to care about and thats why its important

to be ready.

Puppet of a dog.

Next question for our experts: should I be scared?


Nikki Brown Booker: no, you shouldnt be scared, you should be prepared.

Work on, use that fear to motivate you to work with your friends and family to get yourself

prepared for a future disaster.

Jennifer Lazo.

And yeah, disasters are scary, they arent fun.

But a lot of the things that we do to get ready for a big scary disaster, helps with

the little disasters.

A power outage overnight, thats not fun either, and its not that scary.

We can all get ready to survive that together, and surviving a power outage is actually pretty

similar to surviving an earthquake.

A city street with all lights turned off.

Puppet of a dog.

Wont the fire department rescue me?

I hope so! Vance Taylor: you know what we find, traditionally,

is that government hasnt integrated the needs of people with paralysis in their emergency


Right, so the way that they plan, prepare, respond and recover from disasters havent

been completely inclusive of the, the unique need or circumstance that people with paralysis


Jennifer Lazo.

The fire department is amazing, I work with the fire every single day, but there are only

so many of them, and a lot more people.

And so we need everyone to take responsibility for themselves and especially in a disaster.

Do everything you can to make sure that youll survive, and then when those first responders

get there, they can help you with that.

But really we want people to be ready for themselves.

Puppet of a dog.

Should I register with my town or put a sign in my window?

Jennifer Lazo: so you dont need to put a sign in your window that you are disabled.

But you do want to work with your neighbors to make sure that you are there, and you know

that they are there.

There might be a kid next door who comes home alone for a couple of hours.

They may come to you if they have an emergency while they are there.

And you might go to a neighbor to ask for help some help getting out of your house or

getting some extra food if there is a you have difficulty leaving.

So, being registered, that changes a lot based on where you live.

There may be some organizations that do that, there may not.

But the most important thing by far, is getting to know your neighbors.

Your neighbors are the most likely people to rescue you in a disaster.

Nikki Brown Booker.

Thats right, and just because you receive Medicaid or disability services, it does not

mean that you are on a rescue list.

Still, there are local text message lists that you can get on, such as your local county,

check with your county and or your local city, to find out how you can get on text message

lists for heat waves or storms, future storms, or anything that might trigger a text alert

in your local area.

Sometimes, they will even tell you where the nearest shelter is or where you can evacuate

to in, if need be.

Puppet of a dog.

Heres a question: what is a go bag, and what goes in it?

A backpack and many items including a flashlight, lighter, roll of cash, first-aid kit, power

bars, map, notepad, brush and toothpaste, Chapstick, sanitary pad, ointment, clothing,

a water bottle, gloves, a dust mask, towels, a Swiss Army knife, fork and spoon, plastic

cup, a deck of cards, and an umbrella.

Jennifer Lazo.

A go bag is for situations where, where you are is no longer safe.

There are couple of things that could be.

It could be a fire in your house, it could be a wildfire moving rapidly, it could be

a chemical spill or some kind of release where its not safe to stay where you are.

So what you need in a go bag are things to either help you leave quickly or to help you

build your life after you leave.

So, to help you leave quickly, that may be a bottle of water, a snack, maybe a dust mask

to keep ash from getting into your mouth.

It may be some supplies you need, that you use every day, to help you move more rapidly.

Depends on you.

Then theres the things that you need to help keep you safe after.

So that might be your medications, it might be some durable medical equipment, may be

a list of your emergency contacts, or a copy of your insurance information or your credit


So if those arent available, if you cant get to them, you can still get them replaced

more easily.

Puppet of a dog: dont forget the dog food!

Nikki Brown Booker.

Make sure you think about things you would need for your daily routine, such as gloves,

personal items, pressure relieving boots.

Anything that you will need that you would use on a daily basis.

Because you may be, you may need them for more than a day or two.

A wheelchair charger, lubricant, catheter and gloves in front of a red backpack.

Nikki Brown Booker: and if a backpack go bag is not big enough for everything that you

need, go ahead and grab a duffel bag and put all your stuff in there.

Just make sure that you have all that you need so that you are prepared.

Puppet of a dog: so much to think about.

Whats the most important to start with?


Vance Taylor: anybody that has any form of paralysis, that requires any sort of specialized

transportation or that cant just jump in a car and go, is going to have to do some

planning on the front end.

And of course we call that preparedness.

We look at that, and I always tell people that youve got to go 4 people deep.

So I, I can rely my wife, a family member, maybe a neighbor, a friend from church.

I can call on any of those people for assistance to evacuate during an emergency.

But the reality is that probably not all 4 are going to be available at any point in

time, but one should be available, and especially if they know that they are your lifeline.

Jennifer Lazo: if you are told that you are going to need to evacuate soon, evacuate now.

Any, almost time to evacuate message, if its going to take you longer, start moving as

early as possible.

So if you get a hurricane warning, or if you get a wildfire alert, its time to start

moving as early as possible.

A house fire, a warning sign, and textevacuate right away!”

A puppet of a dog: what can I do to help others?

Jennifer Lazo: We also really hope that you will be ambassadors for us.

You already work with folks every single day, they know you, they trust you.

So if we can send a message to you maybe about evacuation or how to boil water an emergency,

if you can pass it on to them in a way that makes the most sense to the groups that you

serve, thats going to be a way more effective method.

Marcie Roth: these are civil rights obligations, there are no waivers to these obligations

in a disaster.

And for people with paralysis, people need to know what their rights are.

They need to know what their community is doing, and they need to be actively involved

in helping their community to be ready for whatever that next disaster is going to be.

Vance Taylor: theres a big push right now, and advocates are doing a wonderful job of

shining a light on that need and working in partnership with government to broaden their

understanding and perspective on what needs to be done on the federal, state and local

side to make sure that every community and everybody in every community has the same

chance for survival and health during a disaster.

Puppet of a dog.

Now, everybody and their dog can be for a disaster!

Got to go, Im going to go help some folks get ready!

A golden retriever runs across a parking lot, enters a building and runs across the lobby,

grabs something out of a red backpack and runs toward a group of people sitting at a


Rolling credits: disability and disaster readiness.

Featuring Marsha Saxton, Jennifer Lazo, Vance Taylor, Nikki Brown Booker, Marcie Roth, Alabama

as RuffnReady.

Camerawork by: Moya Shpuntoff, Marsha Saxton, Lisa Herron, and Kat Zigmont.

Edited by Alex Ghenis.

Produced by World Institute on Disability.

With generous support from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

For more information, visit

The Description of Disaster Readiness for People with Paralysis and Other Disabilities