Navigating Severe Weather While Living With Paralysis

Severe storms sweeping across California are triggering mudslides and flash flood warnings.

 Flooded Road SignAs heavy rain continues over the next day, consider these tips to stay safe:

  • Never drive through flood waters. Six inches of water is strong enough to knock a person over, one foot is enough to sweep away a car.
  • Do not drive on bridges over fast moving water.
  • Track weather alerts, road closures and evacuation orders by monitoring local news and official social media accounts of the National Weather Service and regional organizations and government agencies, including newspapers, television stations, mayor’s offices, state police and fire departments, utility providers, governor’s offices, and the state Department of Transportation.
  • If you’re trapped at home and flooding is a threat, evacuate to the highest level that you can access.
  • If your power goes out, do not use generators or camp stoves inside your home. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms in areas experiencing power outages.
  • A surge of calls can overwhelm communication networks in an emergency. Texting may be the fastest way to reach family and friends as it requires fewer network resources.
  • Conserve cell phone batteries by deleting apps not in use.
  • As emergencies develop, the Red Cross will likely be on the ground providing resources and operating emergency shelters. Locate open shelters by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or visiting its searchable website here. All Red Cross shelters are accessible.

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After the Storm:

  • If you have evacuated, do not return home until local authorities deem the area safe.
  • Tune in to local news stations to make sure water is safe to cook with or drink.
  • Do not touch standing water which may contain sewage, chemicals, or sharp objects.
  • After returning home, check the house for snakes or other animals.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or in standing water to avoid electrocution.


For more information on what comes next, including assessing, documenting and cleaning up damaged property, download the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s free Emergency Preparedness for People with Paralysis booklet.

About the Author - Reeve Staff

This blog was written by the Reeve Foundation for educational purposes. For more information please reach out to

Reeve Staff

The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $10,000,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.