Disabilities or Special Needs

While disasters and emergencies affect everyone, their impact on people with disabilities/special needs is often compounded by factors such as reliance on electrical power, elevators, accessible transportation and accessible communication – all of which can be compromised in emergency situations.

By taking a few simple steps today, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies. These basic steps should help you to take care of yourself and your loved ones during an emergency.

  • Prepare an emergency kit (see Emergency Kits section) and include specialized items as needed.

  • Keep your emergency preparedness kit items in one place, organized, easy to find and carry.

  • Create an emergency contact list identifying your personal support network; include your doctor’s name and contact information.

  • Keep a copy of this list in your emergency kit and on your person.

  • Plan to have your support network check on you immediately if an emergency occurs if you rely on any life sustaining equipment or if you require regular attendant care.

  • Plan to ask for assistance of others if your support network is unable to help.

  • Tag your specialized equipment with instructions on how to use and/or how to move each device.

  • Keep a list of all food allergies and current medications in your kit.

  • For each medication, specify the medical condition being treated, generic name, dosage and frequency.

  • If you have food or drug allergies, wear a medical alert bracelet.

  • Familiarize yourself with all escape routes, emergency equipment and the location of emergency doors/exits in your home.

  • If you have a pet, bring it with you in an evacuation and have an emergency plan for your pet.

  • Determine in advance who can take care of your animal during an emergency.

  • Have an emergency backup plan in the event of a power outage.

 Be aware that experiencing an emergency can be overwhelming and stress can worsen some medical conditions.