Assisting People With Disabilities In A Disastercars under water from flooding has a section on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery that is geared to people with disabilities.There is a guide created jointly by AAARP, FEMA, American Red Cross and others called Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities, Others with Access and Functional Needs and the Whole Community. It includes "commonsense measures individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs and the people who assist and support them can take to start preparing for emergencies before they happen." A video covering this material is seen below.

Also on the site, you will find a link to a fillable document for creating a Family Emergency Plan so each member knows what to do in the event of a disaster. If you're not sure what to include in a basic emergency supply kit, you can find recommended items here. If you like to keep track of weather conditions or basic information on first aid for humans and pets, this page lists American Red Cross apps to help. 

Watch this 5 minute video from FEMA for people with disabilities and the importance of preparation.



View in FEMA Multimedia Library


Other Resources

Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs
The American Red Cross presents this 20-page color booklet as a pdf file on its website. It provides ideas for a personal assessment, an action checklist of things to do before a disaster, what to include in a supplies kit, and more.  Their website includes ideas for all types of emergencies: chemical, drought, earthquate, fire, flood, flu, food safety, heat wave, highway safety, hurricanes, landslides, pet safety, poisoning, power outage, terrorism, thunderstorms, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanos, water safety, wildfires and winter storms. 


The Center for Disability Issues and the Health Professions (CDIHP) at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, has several publications including:

Emergency Health Information is used to tell rescuers important information about you if you are found unconscious or unable to provide information. Include information about your medications, equipment, allergies, communication, preferred treatment and medical providers and contact information.

Emergency Evacuation Preparedness, Taking Responsibility for Your Safety: A Guide for People with Disabilities and Other Activity Limitations is a publication supported by grants from the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation and the Bank of America. 


Feeling Safe, Being Safe
This 6 part series of training videos from the Department of Developmental Services in California includes information on completing the training on your own or hosting a training.  The training can be viewed in English or Spanish and provides tools and instruction used to create a personal plan and be better prepared. 


DP2: Disabled People and Disaster Planning
The information on this website was compiled by a California group addressing accessibility problems that many people with disabilities experienced after the Northridge Earthquake of 1994. Within the group were individuals with disabilities and individuals from the disaster planning and response professions. Although this information originally addresses earthquakes, it also applies to other kinds of disaster preparedness. It covers:

- How to prepare for people with disabilities when a disaster is predicted

- How to make emergency shelters more accessible

- How to train rescue workers and law enforcement to effectively assist people with disabilities

- How to evacuate wheelchair users

- How to disseminate information to people with disabilities after a disaster

- How to make services accessible after a disaster

- Disaster Planning Information and Suggestions for Persons with Disabilities and Those Assisting Them


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Electricity Emergency Preparedness for Senior Citizens and their Caretakers
Learn what to do in the case of a power outage. Identify the risks and the impact they may have in the next 72 hours.  


Fire Evacuation Tips for People with Disabilities: Provided by the City of Tempe, AZ, this document offers fire safety suggestions for people with different kinds of disabilities: mobility impairment, visual impairments, hearing impairment and deafness, and cognitive disabilities. It also advises what to do with assistive devices in the event of fire, and emphasizes the importance of evacuating assistance animals with their owners. 


Fire Safety and Disabilities Guide by Andrea Davis
Article addresses how to prevent, prepare and recover from a fire for blindness or low vision, deafness or hard of hearing, physical disabilities, and cognitive impairments. 


Fire Safety Solutions for People with Disabilities - A Model Program from Oklahoma that Saves Lives
This guide was created to help implement home fire safety programs for people with disabilities. It targets these groups: Visual Impairment, Blind, Mobility Impairment, Deaf, Hard of Hearing.


Guide to Teaching Fire Safety to Students with Disabilities
This guide is intended for campus and community fire safety educators and others who teach fire safety to students with disabilities.  It does not go into depth about basic fire safety information but focuses on how to interact with students with disabilities and how to tailor basic fire safety info for these students.


Fire Safety for the Disabled from Fairfax County, VA
Article includes important points such as plan around your abilities, know your exits, install smoke alarms, sleep near a phone, and keep a flashlight handy. Other escape tips are also offered. 


Fire Safety Checklist 
Here you will find various resources from the American Red Cross including a Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist in English and Spanish, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Fact Sheet, Candle Fires Fact Sheet, Cooking Fires Fact Sheet, Home Fire Escape Planning Sheet and more.  


Animal Disaster Preparedness
People with disabilities who have service animals need to plan for animal safety as well. This resource covers strategy based on location, emergency contacts, the availability of community disaster assistance, evacuation planning, rescue and supply kit checklists, behavioral warning signs, and emergency preparedness training for animals.


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
PETA offers a variety of rersources from Emergency Planning 101 to emergency window stickers to place near your front and back doors and side windows. 


Saving the Whole Family
The American Veterinary Medical Association provides this publication, "Saving the Whole Family", a guide to emergencypreparedness for animals. It covers contact lists, kits, supplies and records to prepare; and identification for doors, windows, and animal tags. Document is also available in Spanish


Online Articles
by Douglas Lathrop, Mainstream Magazine. This article from the November, 1994 issue of Mainstream Magazine discusses the shortcomings of emergency management agencies in assisting people with disabilities, and what we need to think about in order to best help ourselves during times of crisis. While this is an older article, first-hand accounts are often valuable.

Earthquake!, by Jim Hammitt, Mainstream Magazine This May,1994 article describes the experiences of people with disabilities during and after the Northridge, CA earthquake in January, 1994. The obstacles Northridge residents with disabilities encountered when trying to access relief services indicated a need for better emergency management solutions. This job requires the initiative and participation of people with disabilities themselves. Articles like these, even though they are older, are valuable in raising awareness.

Virginia Woman Pioneers Adapted Fire Extinguisherfire extinguisher

This article from the Muscular Dystrophy Association describes a new fire extinguisher that can be easily operated by people with mobility, visual or cognitive disabilities. The project was spearheaded by a woman who uses a wheelchair, who lectures on home and fire safety for people with disabilities. The project has been placed on hold, but perhaps you agree there's a need and can support this important project. 

"Coping with Disaster: Suggestions for Helping Children with Cognitive DisabilitiesThis article can be found in Impact's feature issue on Disaster Preparedness and People with Disabilities. This is a publication by the Institute on Community Integration, at the University of MN. 

Recovering from a Natural Disaster in College: A Student's Guide for Waht to Do On Campus
While this article is not specific to students with disabilities, it does suggest tips that are valuable for all college students including steps to take for readiness. If you're a student and you've experienced a natural disaster, suggested resources are categorized as physical, emotional, financial and insurance.