Journal:Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):11, 92, 3, 491-498
Study examined the number of full-time wheelchair users with spinal cord injuries (SCI) who felt they could evacuate from various locations and have a plan for evacuation. Data were obtained from 487 subjects from 6 SCI Model System centers who use a wheelchair more than 40 hours a week. Questions regarding evacuation preparedness were asked during regularly scheduled data collection periods. Descriptive statistics were calculated for the percentage of wheelchair users who: (1) felt they would be able to safely evacuate their home, place of work, and town or city in the event of an emergency; (2) had a plan for safe evacuation; or (3) reported a need for assistive technology and human assistance to evacuate from various locations in the event of an emergency. The highest percentage of participants felt they would be able to safely evacuate and had a plan for work evacuation. The lowest percentage of participants reported they could evacuate from their city/town in the event of an emergency and had a plan to evacuate their city/town in the event of a natural disaster. A large percentage of participants’ evacuation plans relied heavily on human assistance. The findings suggest that a large discrepancy exists between the perception that one can evacuate and actually having a plan. The perception that one can evacuate without a plan or the use of assistive technology is an area of concern that must be further addressed by educators. Education must emphasize the need to have a defined evacuation plan and effective utilization of assistive technology.