Emergency Preparedness Fair for those with special needs at Harlem High School Aug. 25

Online Staff Report

MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. — An Emergency Preparedness Fair for those with special needs and their caregivers will be held at Machesney Park Harlem High School from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 25.

The event is free to attend and is presented by the Winnebago County Inclusive Emergency Preparedness Planning Committee, a group of agencies and organizations that work with individuals who have functional needs.

Very often, people with functional needs require a little extra assistance when responding to an emergency or preparing for a disaster, and knowing how to respond to a disaster or how to inform first responders about how best to help you means the difference between life and death.

According to the U.S. Census (2000), more than 80,000 residents of Winnebago County have some form of a disability, which may make it more difficult to respond to a fast-moving emergency in their residence. Additionally, anyone who works with, or is a caregiver for anyone with a disability needs to prepare to respond to a disaster and to recover from one with the disability in mind. Planning to respond and recover from a disaster needs to take place now, BEFORE a disaster hits.

Emergency preparedness is a very important topic. Do you know how to prepare and respond to an emergency if you are a caregiver for someone with special needs? Do you know how to prepare if you are a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s and you need to prepare a plan to respond to an emergency at your home that will include the person in your care?

At the fair, informational booths staffed by area agencies that specialize in working with individuals with special needs who work with emergency preparedness and planning will be on hand. Handouts will include information about preparing a home emergency plan, and what you can do to prepare to interact with first responders should an emergency occur. Breakout sessions scheduled once every hour starting at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. include the following:

• Emergency Preparedness Planning and Recovery for anyone with a need of a little extra assistance, workers and caregivers;

• Preparing to respond to an emergency that includes people with autism; and

• How you can help your community: become a volunteer.

For more about the fair, contact Dan Reilly at (815) 720-4217 or by e-mail at dreilly@wchd.org.

Harlem High School is at 1 Huskie Circle, Machesney Park, Ill. Entrance is off Alpine Road.

Posted Aug. 23, 2012

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