Staying Safe in Your Home

Staying safe at home is very important and something that you, your Housing Support Services (HSS) specialist, Coordinator of Community Services (CCS)/ case manager, your family and friends should think through. Whenever you move to a new place, you can contact the local police and fire departments to inform them that you have a disability and about any information they may need to assist you in an emergency.

Keep Emergency Information Numbers Handy

It’s a good idea to put emergency information numbers in your phone and also on a piece of paper that you keep handy, such as taped inside a kitchen cabinet. Important numbers to have include:


Poison Control – The Maryland Poison Control number is available 24/7: 800.222.1222.

A quick call to the Maryland Poison Center is faster and a lot less expensive than going to the emergency room. More than 60% of all cases reported to the Maryland Poison Center are managed safely at home.

If you suspect a poisoning or overdose, do not wait for symptoms – call the poison control number immediately. All calls to Maryland Poison Control are free. Once you call the number, pharmacists and nurses with special training in toxicology will respond, ask questions about health and medications and specifics about the situation and provide further instructions for treatment.

Before calling Maryland Poison Control, instruct the person to rinse out their mouth if something was swallowed or rinse out their eye if something was splashed in the eye. Do not make a person vomit if you suspect they have swallowed something harmful. If the person is not breathing, is unconscious, or having seizures, call 911 right away.

Emergency maintenance number for your apartment community

Emergency contact person for your service provider

List your medications and allergies and keep the list handy for others.

It’s very important to keep an accurate list of your medications and any allergies or wanted side effects that you’ve had to medications, vitamins or other things like soaps, shampoos, lotions, etc. Keep the list for yourself in a handy place, such as your wallet. That way, you will have it when you visit the doctor. Also, give a list to a family member or your service provider just in case you lose your copy.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher: Remember to PASS!

P: Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.

A: Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

S: Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

S: Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

For more information about choosing the proper fire extinguisher for your home and how to use it, you can click the button below to visit the U.S. Fire Administration Online.

Emergency Planning for People with Disabilities

Weather and other emergencies can happen where you live. It is a good idea to create an emergency preparedness plan with your Housing Support Services (HSS) specialist, Coordinator of Community Services (CSS)/ case manager and family. The Maryland Department of Disabilities has a lot of good emergency preparedness information for people with disabilities on their website.

A personal support network is made up of individuals who will check with you in an emergency to ensure you are alright, and give you assistance, if needed. A support network may include family, friends, staff, neighbors or co-workers. It’s best to have more than one person in your support network at every location where you spend significant amounts of time. Identify a minimum of three people at each location where you regularly spend a significant part of your week: job, home, school, volunteer site, etc.

If you rely on staff to assist you with personal care, they may not be available after a disaster. Therefore, it is vital that your personal support network consists of different people than those who are your staff. It is also important to discuss your plan with your staff and others who support you.

In spite of your best planning, sometimes a personal support network must be created on the spot. For example, you may find yourself in a shelter and needing to assemble help for immediate assistance. Think about what you will need, how you want it done and what kind of person you would select.

Make sure everyone in your support network knows your emergency plans. This includes methods of contact, evacuation routes and location of emergency supplies. If you use medical equipment, show support network members how to operate it.

Seven Important Items to Discuss, Give to and Practice with Your Personal Support Network


Make arrangements, prior to an emergency, for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.

Exchange important keys.

Show where you keep emergency supplies.

Share copies of your relevant emergency documents, evacuation plans and emergency health information card.

Agree and practice a communications system regarding how to contact each other in an emergency. Do not count on the telephones working.

You and your personal support network should always notify each other when you are going out of town and when you will return.

The relationship should be mutual. Learn about each other’s needs and how to help each other in an emergency. You could be responsible for food supplies and preparation, organizing neighborhood watch meetings, interpreting, etc.

Additional Emergency Preparedness Resources for People with Disabilities

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