Disabilities and special needs
Habitat Ready: Disaster preparedness for homeowners
Disabilities and special needs can make it challenging to prepare for and respond to a disaster. Often, people with disabilities and special needs require assistance and additional lead time when a disaster strikes.
If you or someone you know needs assistance, it is important to plan ahead, because there may be additional steps to take in order to properly prepare for a disaster.
Practical tips for those with special needs
The following list, while not exhaustive, provides some practical tips for those with special needs.
- Design a family preparedness plan that takes into consideration any special needs you may have.
- Create a family communications plan that accounts for your specific communication needs.
- Assemble a disaster supply kit that includes any necessary personal supplies, medications or equipment.
- Design a family evacuation plan that takes into consideration any challenges you may face while evacuating.
- Establish a support network:
- Include family, friends, neighbors or co-workers who can help you prepare and get you to a safe place during a disaster.
- They should be people you trust, should know your capabilities and needs, and should be available to help on short notice.
- Post emergency instructions on the refrigerator. Include medications, necessary equipment information and emergency contacts.
- Prepare for loss of electrical power:
- Find alternative ways to charge your medical equipment and communication devices.
- Plan ahead for medications that require refrigeration.
- Keep extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medications, etc., on hand.
- Register with your city, county or state office of emergency management, along with the local police and fire departments, disability organizations and community groups.
- Consider getting a medical alert system that will allow you to call for help if you are immobilized in an emergency.
- If you are mobility-impaired and live or work in a high-rise building, have an escape chair.
- Carry medical information and emergency contacts on you at all times.
- When calling 911, tap the space bar to engage the TDD system.
- American Red Cross: Disaster safety for people with disabilities
- CDC.gov: Emergency preparedness including those with disabilities
- Disability.gov: Disability resources
- Federal Emergency Management Agency Office of Disability Integration and Coordination
- Ready.gov: Individuals with disabilities
- Federal Alliance for Safe Homes
- National Organization on Disability