Independent Living offers a series of workshops to help people with emergency preparedness

Workshops focus on people living with disabilities

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - There are several challenges that can come up for people living with disabilities and during a fire, a flood or even an earthquake situation, every minute is crucial.

Water and food aren't the only things people should include in their emergency kits, but band aids, medicine and even a flashlight can also be beneficial...and that's how independent living is helping empower people to stay alive.

Harvey Clowers wants people living with disabilities to know what to do during an emergency situation.

"Somebody may be able to just get up and walk out of it, where people with disabilities may have to plan a little further in advance," he said.

Leaders with the Independent Living Center of Kern County are organizing a series of workshops aimed at empowering and educating families.

"For people with disabilities in general, we really have to be careful and map out our route to get out of an emergency a little bit better. We have to have a better path of accessibility.  We really have to know what our abilities are and how we're able to function in an emergency," he said.

Workers with the American Red Cross say to be prepared families must be informed, make a plan, assemble a kit and then maintain your plan and kit.

"You never know when you might be sitting there and get caught with your hat off and something goes wrong and you don't know how to get out of that situation and you’re caught up," said Michael Wise, a participant in the workshop.

Workshops will include a focus on people who are visually and hearing impaired.  There are also classes scheduled for seniors and their caregivers, teens with disabilities and even a workshop for corporate businesses.

"How to help more people and try to make them more aware and try to get them out here so they can be more aware because you can't be aware if you're sitting at home," said Wise.

Emergency preparedness workshops are also planned in McFarland.  Organizers say those trainings will all be in Spanish.           

For more information on being prepared visit the American Red Cross website.

For more information on Independent Living Center of Kern County visit its website.

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