So you think preparing for Hurricane Irene is a trying, exhausting experience? What if you had a physically disabled child?
The Librandi family of Milford has more to contend with than most, largely due to the care required for their severely disabled child, Paige, 19.
“For us, electricity is always first and foremost on our mind,” said Paige’s father, Chris Librandi.
This is because Paige depends on electrical devices to get around, and even to communicate through her Dynavox, which is a portable communication device she keeps on her lap.
“Paige’s Dynavox is actually battery powered, so she has the one that’s in there, plus she has two charged and ready,” Chris explained.
In addition, the Librandi’s purchased an AC power converter — in place of a generator, which they couldn’t find in stock anywhere. But the AC converter will connect to any car battery and convert that energy to provide power to a standard plug. Chris bought his converter at Pilot gas station, and added that these converters are available at any auto parts store.
Paige’s power chair is also battery powered, and that had to be fully charged, as well. If Hurricane Irene knocks out the Librandi’s power, they will need their AC converter to charge Paige’s chair.
Fortunately, Paige’s in-home elevator has its own battery system, so if the power goes down, it will still run.
“We do have a ramp, but if it gets all flooded out there and she tries to go down in her chair, she’ll just sink into the mud,” said mom, Sandy Librandi.
In addition to making sure their daughter’s devices would not lose power if Milford does, the Librandi’s also made sure her medications were filled in advance, and made sure that Paige was prepared mentally for the upcoming storm.
Paige communicated through her Dynavox that yes, she is ready for the hurricane, and that no, she is not afraid.
In addition to preparing to meet Paige’s extraordinary needs, the Librandi’s needed to prepare Chris’s 90 year old mother, Maria, who also lives with them.
Maria’s in-law apartment has a lot of over-hanging trees, so Chris made sure his chainsaw was charged and ready should a tree fall on the apartment or on any other part of their home.
Meanwhile, Sandy had to verbally prepare their 21-year-old daughter, who is away at college on Long Island. But their 16 year old, Alex?
Today, she went to the mall.