A few months ago, the west coast of Florida was absolutely devastated by Hurricane Ian. I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to own property on a barrier island on the east coast of Florida for seven years. Hurricanes are a natural part of living in Florida. I want to talk about living in a high-risk area for hurricanes when you have a disability and use a Quantum power wheelchair.
Because of my disability, there are some things that I cannot do without the help of others. During Florida’s hurricane season, if a storm develops and heads towards your area, most people only have a few days to leave. I use a power wheelchair and I live by myself, so that is a bit of a challenge. So, I make sure that I have a hurricane plan in place.
Be Ready to Go with Your Quantum Power Wheelchair
The first thing I do is always keep two carry-on luggage bags packed at all times with clothes and hygiene items, as well as any medication. This allows me to grab my bags and put them in my car quickly. If you use a Quantum power wheelchair like me, it’s a good idea to have an extra power wheelchair charger to take with you.
Another thing I do is I always make sure my car has more than a half a tank of gas during the fall season. If a storm is coming, everybody rushes to the gas stations. Sometimes, you can run into shortages on the barrier island, as well as the mainland.
Use Hurricane Shutters
I have a big sliding glass door. Unfortunately, I had to spend extra money to get the automatic hurricane shutters but this allows me to just push a button to drop the shutters. I also have four windows where I need to manually slide the metal shutters in place. I always try to do this by myself but sometimes I have a hard time. Thankfully, one of my neighbors always lends me a hand.
Have a Backup Plan in Place
During an evacuation, always follow your plan and know who you need to contact. You should also have a backup plan. On the barrier island, any storm that is greater than a Category 1 storm means you must leave. They shut the causeways down, so if you decide to stay, you are on your own.
My aunt and uncle live 14 miles inland. If it’s just a small storm like a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, I stay with them until the storm passes. If the storm is larger than that, I have specific areas throughout the state that are my driving points. One place is to the south of where I live. Another point is located north. The third point is to the west. If I have to pick one of these locations, it means that the storm is going to hit our area. In next month’s blog, I will talk about emergency funds and how those come into play.
The most important thing for hurricane preparedness: have a plan and then have a backup plan. Hurricanes are nothing to mess with and when you use a power wheelchair that allows you to be mobile, you cannot afford to play games.
About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.