Step 4: Build a Support Network

Note: The posts in this series were adopted from a regional “hurricane preparedness” resource packet developed by the South Florida Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SFSCIMS) that can be downloaded in .pdf here.

Family – 

  • Use the FEMA Family Emergency Communication Plan Guide as a way to keep record of important phone numbers, family information, and meeting places in case of an emergency. 
  • This form provides cutout wallet emergency cards to give to family members as reminders.

Questions for Your Doctor – 

  • Make sure you ask how to obtain additional medications immediately after a storm and how to contact your health provider to obtain and fill prescriptions.
  • Ask how you can access telehealth options and other means of communication with your physician and other health care providers for care guidance.
  • Ask if you would benefit from a physician certificate with utility companies for priority service.
  • Discuss cooling and heating methods if you have impaired thermoregulation.
  • Review your emergency supplies list with your physician and add any other necessary supplies.

Questions for Your Peers – 

  • If you know someone with SCI characteristics similar to yours, ask them about their strategies and experiences with hurricanes.
  • If you don’t know someone with similar abilities and needs as yourself, then join a local SCI Support Group and/or seek a Peer Mentor
    • Local Broward and Miami SCI support groups can be found here.

Discussion Questions for Your Caregiver – 

* Sourced from

  • Discuss ways to prepare a written, detailed description of the kind of care you are accustomed to receiving, including information such as:
    • Special supplies that you may need such as medication, incontinence products, low-air mattress, spare wheelchair cushion, accessories, etc.
    • The location of equipment and supplies required to meet your needs
    • How you spend your time and what you need at specific times during the day and night
    • Tips on how to help you reduce stress and remain calm
  • Discuss the possibility of a substitute caregiver in case your primary caregiver is unavailable or unable to provide care for an extended period of time. Identify and make arrangements with this caregiver ahead of time.

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