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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.