By Alice Wong: For Complete Post, Click Here…
ngd-This is a critical issue in Michigan as well. Great problems that laste dfor days to weeks happened in the 2013 ice storm…
A perspective on the impacts of storms for people with disabilities.
The terms atmospheric river and bomb cyclone were not in my vocabulary until recently. During the first two weeks of 2023, however, the San Francisco Bay Area was deluged with a series of storms. I am a disabled person who depends on power to live. When I came home after four weeks in the ICU last summer, I was tethered to a feeding machine that pumps food into my stomach, as well as to a ventilator that’s attached to a hole in my throat, among numerous other devices. The stakes for potential harm during a power outage have exponentially increased. My anxiety, vulnerability and fear are real.
Jan. 3, 2023, 10:44 p.m.: Texted my caregivers on what to do if a power outage happens while I am in bed tomorrow night. Air mattress will deflate, and I will immediately need to be transferred into my wheelchair. I will need to use my backup electric batteries for medical devices such as my suction machine, since I need to suction hourly every day.
Jan. 4, 10 a.m.: Mentally calculating how much battery life some of my machines need before needing to use my backup electric battery. My other devices do not have a built-in battery.
1 p.m.: Bookmarked the link to Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) Outage Center, so I can look up all the outages by location and report one if it happens in my neighborhood.
1:30 p.m.: Asked my father to make sure my backup electric batteries are fully charged.
2 p.m.: Let my morning caregiver leave her shift early so that she can get home safely before the brunt of the storm arrives. Did not hydrate today, because my nighttime caregiver will not arrive until 9 p.m. Worried for her, and worried for me. I hope I don’t get a full bladder.
3:02 p.m.: Tweeting information about the storm. Noticing that many weather-related Tweets do not have alt text in graphics and captions in videos that contain vital information about the storm, evacuations and road closures.
3:30 p.m.: Watching the news and scrolling Twitter. My father, who thinks I’m being an alarmist, said, “The news always exaggerates the dangers.” After living with me for decades, he still doesn’t understand.
6:01 p.m.: Pre-emptively charging some of my devices, topping them up with power tonight, just in case.
6:19 p.m.: Uh-oh. My bladder feels a little full. Let’s see if I can hold on until 9-ish when my caregiver arrives. I hope she makes it.
And Much More…