Study finds disabled Americans less likely to be prepared for natural disasters

Jan 31, 2011

Disabled Americans less likely to be ready for disasters

Americans who suffer from chronic medical conditions may have another headache to contend with in addition to health and life insurance policy hikes: A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine released earlier this month suggests they are less likely to have an emergency kit ready in case of a natural disaster.

Disabled or chronically ill people may suffer disproportionately because of neglect in the wake of highly destructive events, the study said.

"Although environmental hazards, acute injuries, and control of infectious diseases are top priorities during disasters, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina highlighted the need for effective management of chronic diseases," the authors wrote.

Even as the study found that fewer disabled and chronically ill Americans were adequately prepared for such a disaster, the authors pointed out conditions in the wake of, say, a hurricane would be more likely to harm those people than their healthier counterparts.

There was one silver lining in the findings, however - the authors said disabled people were much more likely to have an adequate supply of medication on hand compared to others.

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