Emergency and Disaster Preparedness

Individuals with disabilities often are disproportionately impacted during times of disaster. A variety of barriers may already exist such as lack of transportation and inaccessible buildings, and other barriers are either created or exacerbated by the disaster itself. Effective and inclusive evacuation, sheltering, and other response and recovery activities are critical.

People with disabilities who are self-sufficient under regular circumstances may have to rely on the help of others in an emergency. They may need more time than others to make necessary preparations for an emergency. Arrangements need to be made for service animals and necessary medical equipment. The following resources will help you safely prepare for emergencies:

For People with Disabilities and Caregivers

Preparing for a Disaster for People with Disabilities and Other Special Needs

The booklet gives tips on getting informed, planning, assembling a kit, and maintaining these plans for people with disabilities. These tips provide you and your caregivers with considerations needed to help manage communications, equipment, pets and home hazards.

Ready.Gov

Tools and information that people with disabilities and other access and functional needs may wish to consider when making their emergency plans and preparations.

Are You Ready: An in-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness

The guide has been designed to help the citizens learn how to protect themselves and their families against all types of hazards. It can be used as a reference source or as a step-by-step manual. The focus of the content is on how to develop, practice, and maintain emergency plans that reflect what must be done before, during, and after a disaster to protect people and their property.

For Children and Schools

American Red Cross

Complete disaster relief information 

Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools TA Center

The Center for School Preparedness provides support, resources, grants, and training to support emergency management efforts for local educational agencies (LEAs) and institutions of higher education (IHEs).

Other Helpful Resources

Disability Prepared

An interactive web site that brings together some exemplary current best practice efforts addressing disaster-related needs of people with disabilities. These are innovative ideas or fresh approaches using proven methods that can be replicated at the state, county or grassroots level.

DisasterAssistance.Gov

Provides information on disaster assistance from over 17 government agencies as well as online applications for assistance.

Transportation Safety

The following resources can help ensure safer travel for children and adults with disabilities:

Tips for Parents on Safely Transporting Kids with Special Needs

FAQ’s for parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Wheelchair Transportation Safety: Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs are intended for wheelchair users, parents, practitioners, clinicians and medical personnel, physical and occupational therapists, transit providers, school-bus transportation companies and personnel, transportation systems administrators, and the manufacturers of wheelchairs, wheelchair seating systems, and after-market wheelchair tiedown and occupant restraint systems who are concerned with transportation safety for children and adults who remain seated in their wheelchair when traveling in a motor vehicle.

Injury and Violence Prevention

Keeping Children with Special Needs Safe in the Home

A series of safety videos highlighting how you can take precautions in the home to help prevent injuries to children with physical, developmental or cognitive disabilities. Information is applicable to adults with disabilities as well.

Department of Justice’s Resources on Crime Victims with Disabilities

Resources from the Office on Crime Victims designed to promote awareness of the issues faced by crime victims with disabilities and to improve each community’s capacity to better serve them.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service: Crime Victims with Disabilities

Repository of publications and resources from the Department of Justice for law enforcement personnel, policy makers, and disability service providers.

Fire Safety

People with disabilities might need extra time and assistance when evacuating a building during a fire or fire drill. The following resources provide information on safe evacuations:

Emergency Fire Evacuation Guide for People with Disabilities

This guide provides information on the five broad categories of disabilities (mobility, visual, hearing, speech, and cognitive) and the four elements of evacuation information that occupants need (notification, way finding, use of the way, and assistance). Includes a checklist that building services managers and people with disabilities can use to design a personalized evacuation plan. The annexes give government resources and text based on the relevant code requirements and ADA criteria.

Employers’ Guide to Including Employees with Disabilities in Emergency Evacuation Plans

Information about employers’ legal obligation to develop emergency evacuation plans and how to include employees with disabilities in such plans.

Other Helpful Resources

National Fire Protection Association’s Resources for People with Disabilities

Fire safety resources including materials for children, educators, employers, and landlords.

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