5 Tips to Be Prepared for a Terrorist Attack If You Have a Disability


I am married, work in Manhattan, and live nearby in Jersey City. I am 48 years old and have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Because we do not own a car, I rely on public transportation and my feet to take me everywhere. I work full time, and on the weekends, I still do the things I like in the city: shopping, museums, shows, and lots of walking!

I am sure you have already read or heard about the recent explosion in New York City, and the discovery of un-detonated bombs in Elizabeth, New Jersey, both of which border Jersey City, where I live. It is a sad state of affairs when my husband and I need to think about emergency plans for my personal safety in the event something catastrophic may occur. On September 11, 2001, I was not living in this area. I do recall that for a time, the trains were not running and people were in a scramble to leave Manhattan.

I am no expert on survival amid disaster and have not had to experience a catastrophic event close-up. But because of my limited ability to walk a long distance and my inability to run, I feel it is important to have measures in place, should I need to get myself to safety quickly. Here are 5 ways I stay prepared for a terrorist attack as a woman with a disability.

1. I wear sneakers to work. Because of my pain and edema, I usually leave them on all day. Even ballerina flats are not safe in a situation where I may need to move quickly. They slide off the back of my heel regularly, especially on my right foot, where I had surgery that left me with limited mobility in my toes.

2. I keep a small bottle of water in my tote or purse. One of my medications makes me very prone to heat exhaustion, so water also comes in handy in hot weather.

3. I keep a snack in my bag at all times, in case I need to make a meal of it while trying to get to safety.

4. I have a safe place to stay at work. In case of emergency in New York where I may not be able to leave the island of Manhattan, I have decided to stay in my office.  There is a shower, should I need it, and plenty of bottled water. This would also keep me out of the melee, where I am likely to be jostled or trampled.

5. I know my transportation options. If I am able to leave Manhattan without walking across a bridge, the ferries are very close and convenient, which is why they are my main mode of transportation to work each day. If I have to, I can walk the mile to my apartment after disembarking. There are plenty of restaurants and stoops to rest along the way.

Despite recent events, I believe city life is still the best environment for me. The bottom line is: this world is not safe, no matter where you are. Being disabled means you may need to have plans in place for yourself. I wish you safety and peace.

Follow this journey on City Girl Flare.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Disability

Disabled father rollerblading with son

Please Stop Trying to 'Fix' My Disability

In our society, disabilities are often seen as things that need to be “fixed,” and, therefore, the person who has the disability is also viewed as broken. In reality, those of us who have the disability often celebrate their disability. We identify with our disability, and we see it as a part of ourselves. Without [...]
Don't let the Fear of Being Ordinary get you down.

When We Realize 'Normal Is a Fantasy' as Students With Invisible Disabilities

By Linda Williams, Ph.D., and Monica Slabaugh / Invisible Disability Project Your stomach is knotted. But you’ve prepared. It’s go time. Outwardly, you fit in with your peers. Only you know about the invisible disability within you that no one else can see. The thing that makes you different. Not “normal.” Stop right there. Here [...]
Athletes playing wheelchair basketball.

Why We Should (and Shouldn't) Find the Paralympics Inspirational

As I sit watching the amazing athletes in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, I’m reminded yet again of how inspirational we people with disabilities can be. Each and every one of these athletes are inspirational, and should be an inspiration to the many young athletes today who seek to one day claim their spot in the [...]
Disabled woman with scooter and crutches.

10 Things I Wish People With Ableist Beliefs Understood About Disability

I’ve honestly found that one of the hardest parts about chronic illness and disability is how people react. We aren’t “superhuman” – whatever the British Paralympics advert says – nor are we “subhuman,” for the different ways we engage and interact with the world. We are just human. We deserve to be treated properly: not [...]