Emergency Preparedness Publications & Resources
The Pacific ADA Center produces webinars, tip sheets, and podcasts to clarify disability and ADA issues in emergency preparedness and management. In addition, listed below are national, regional, and local resources and publications related to disability and emergency preparedness. Select the section below for more information.
- Emergency Preparedness Litigation - Legal Brief 2-2018 (.doc)
- Emergency Preparedness Litigation - Legal Brief 2-2018 (.rtf)
- Emergency Preparedness Litigation - Legal Brief 2-2018 (.pdf)
Personal Preparedness Publications
- Bedside Emergency Supplies Checklist
- Car Emergency Supplies Kit Checklist
- Carry On You Emergency Supplies Kit Checklist
- Emergency Contact List
- Emergency Food and Water
- Emergency Power Planning
- Emergency Supplies Kits
- Emergency Travel Safety Tips For Overnight Stays
- Evacuation Transportation Planning Tips
- Grab and Go Emergency Supplies Kit Checklist
- Grab and Go Emergency Supplies Kit Checklist Template
- Grab and Go Emergency Supplies Kit with Daily Use Items Checklist
- Home Emergency Supplies Kit Checklist
Planning Resources for Governmental Agencies and First Responders
ADA National Network
- Inclusive Event Procedures For Emergencies
- Maintaining Site Accessibility Checklist
- Press Conference Checklist
Department of Justice
- Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities in the Provision of Disaster Mass Care, Housing and Human Services
- ADA Checklist for Emergency Shelters
- ADA Guide for Local Governments: Making Community Emergency Preparedness and Response Programs Accessible to People with Disabilities
- Emergency Management under Title II of the ADA
- Guidance to State and Local Governments and Other Federally Assisted Recipients Engaged in Emergency Preparedness, Response, Mitigation, and Recovery Activities on Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Title II Checklist (Emergency Management)
- Guidance on Planning for Integration of Functional Needs Support Services In General Population Shelters
- Guide to Interacting with People Who Have Disabilities
- Tips for Effectively Communicating with the Whole Community in Disasters
Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL)/ DHS
- Guidance in Spanish
- Notice for Recipients on Nondiscrimination During Disasters
- Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities in the Provision of Disaster Mass Care, Housing, and Human Services (PDF, 27 pages, 112 KB)
- Listening Sessions with Disability Stakeholders in Disaster Impacted Areas (2018)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Department of Labor (DOL)
- Department of Transportation (DOT)
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA)
- National Council on Disability (NCD)
- National Organization on Disability (NOD)
- Notice for Recipients on Nondiscrimination During Disasters
- U.S. Access Board
- State Resources
- Other Community Resources
- International Resources
- Additional Publications
Emergency Preparedness and You
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Emergency Preparedness and You. Atlanta, GA: Author.
The possibility of public health emergencies arising in the United States concerns many people in the wake of recent hurricanes, tsunamis, acts of terrorism, and the threat of pandemic influenza. Though some people feel it is impossible to be prepared for unexpected events, the truth is that taking preparedness actions helps people deal with disasters of all sorts much more effectively when they do occur. Read more.
Emergency Preparedness: Including People with Disabilities
These resources were developed by CDC funded State Disability and Health Programs for public health professionals, emergency personnel, and communities to create emergency preparedness and response plans that are inclusive of people with disabilities. Read more.
Extreme Cold: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Extreme Cold: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety. Atlanta, GA: Author.
When winter temperatures drop significantly below normal, staying warm and safe can become a challenge. Extremely cold temperatures often accompany a winter storm, so you may have to cope with power failures and icy roads. Although staying indoors as much as possible can help reduce the risk of car crashes and falls on the ice, you may also face indoor hazards...Read more.
National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
NACCHO was founded in the 1960's. Since its inception, NACCHO has sought to improve the public's health while adhering to a set of core values: equity, excellence, participation, respect, integrity, leadership, science & innovation.
NACCHO’s Health and Disability Program is supported by the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program provides local health departments with the tools and resources needed to successfully include people with disabilities in all local health department activities.
Local health departments can learn how to better include people with disabilities in their programs, products, and services. Visit their website to for information on the following resources:
- Disability Inclusion Resources for Local Health Departments
- Health and Disability Fellowship Program
- Disability Technical Assistance Program
- Health and Disability Workgroup
- Policy Statements
Natural Disasters and Severe Weather Links
Provides information for specific at-risk populations with health and safety concerns. Read more.
What You Need to Know When the Power Goes Out
CDC offers these tips to help you prepare for and cope with sudden loss of power, including:
- Food safety
- Safe drinking water
- Extreme heat and cold
- First aid for electrical shock
- Power line hazards and cars
- Avoid carbon monoxide
- Dangers of gasoline siphoning
- Safety at work during power recovery
- Be prepared for an emergency
Read more about Power Outages.
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Technical Resources Assistance Center and Information Exchange
Brought to you by HHS ASPR, the Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) was created to meet the information and technical assistance needs of regional ASPR staff, healthcare coalitions, healthcare entities, healthcare providers, emergency managers, public health practitioners, and others working in disaster medicine, healthcare system preparedness, and public health emergency preparedness. Read more.
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response emPOWER Map
Hospitals, first responders, electric companies, and community members can use this map to find the monthly total of Medicare beneficiaries with electricity-dependent equipment claims at the U.S. state, territory, county, and zip code level and turn on “real-time” natural hazard and NOAA severe weather tracking services to identify areas and populations that may be impacted and are at risk for prolonged power outages. Read more.
Mental Health All-Hazards Disaster Planning Guidance
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2003. Mental Health All-Hazards Disaster Planning Guidance. DHHS Pub. No. SMA 3829. Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Author.
This manual helps state and local mental health professionals create emergency preparedness plans for disasters. It highlights integrating health and mental health response and conducting epidemiological surveillance. Read more.
A Guide to Interacting with People Who Have Disabilities
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. (CRCL). A Guide to Interacting with People Who Have Disabilities. Washington, D.C.: Author.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) has developed this Guide to assist DHS personnel, contractors, and grantees in their interactions with people who have disabilities. Examples of these interactions include people with disabilities who are traveling through the airport, crossing into the U.S. at a point of entry, naturalizing to become a U.S. citizen, being held in detention awaiting a hearing or removal, and receiving assistance before, during, or after a disaster.
This document offers a summary of disability myths and facts, guidance on appropriate language, and tips for successfully interacting with people who have disabilities. It is intended as a general overview of the topic. Read more.
Are You Ready?
Official website of the Department of Homeland Security for readiness resources and information. Read more.
People with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs: Preparing and Planning for an Emergency
The official Ready.gov website by the Department of Homeland Security includes comprehensive planning resources and tools for individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. Read more.
Management Directive on Nondiscrimination for Individuals with Disabilities in DHS-Conducted Programs and Activities
Department of Homeland Security, DHS Directives System. (September 2013). Nondiscrimination for Individuals with Disabilities In DHS-Conducted Programs and Activities (Non-Employment). Directive Number: 065-01, Revision Number: 00. Washington, D.C: Author.
This Directive establishes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy and implementation mechanisms for ensuring nondiscrimination for individuals with disabilities served by DHS-conducted programs and activities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 504). Read more.
Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information for People with Disabilities
This brochure was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in consultation with AARP, the American Red Cross and the National Organization on Disability and updated by the FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination. Read more.
Tips for Effectively Communicating with Protected Populations during Response and Recovery
This document has practices regarding effective communication can help jurisdictions meet their obligations to carry out their disaster related activities in a non-discriminatory manner. Read more.
Ready.gov is a public service campaign designed to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. The 4 priorities of the campaign are to help users to: (1) stay informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses (2) make a family emergency plan and (3) build an emergency supply kit, and (4) get involved in your community by taking action to prepare for emergencies.
Information for individuals with disabilities with access and functional needs are addressed. Read more.
HUD Guidance on CDBG Compliance with the Rehabilitation Act
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Community Planning and Development. (November 2005). Housing and Urban Development Guidance on CDBG Compliance with the Rehabilitation Act. Notice: CPD-05-09. Washington, D.C.: Author.
This Notice describes key compliance elements for housing assisted under the HOME and CDBG programs. Read more.
ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments. Chapter 3, General Effective Communication Requirements Under Title II of the ADA
U.S. Department of Justice. (2009, September). ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments. Chapter 3, General Effective Communication Requirements Under Title II of the ADA. Washington, D.C.: Author.
The Tool Kit is designed to teach state and local government officials how to identify and fix problems that prevent people with disabilities from gaining equal access to state and local government programs, services, and activities.
In this chapter, you will learn about the requirements of Title II of the ADA for effective communication. Read more.
ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments. Chapter 7, ADA Checklist for Emergency Shelters
U.S. Department of Justice. (2009, September). ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments. Chapter 7, ADA Checklist for Emergency Shelters. Washington, DC: Author.
The Tool Kit is designed to teach state and local government officials how to identify and fix problems that prevent people with disabilities from gaining equal access to state and local government programs, services, and activities. It will also teach state and local officials how to conduct accessibility surveys of their buildings and facilities to identify and remove architectural barriers to access. Chapter 7 deals with emergency planning and shelter access. Read more
ADA Guidence on Effective Communication
The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, orrules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards). Read More.
CALIF, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al.: Case Documents
The case, filed in 2009, was brought on behalf of Plaintiffs: Communities Actively Living Independent and Free (“CALIF”), and Audrey Harthorn.
A landmark ruling in February 2011 held that the City of Los Angeles violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to meet the needs of its residents with mobility, vision, hearing, mental, and cognitive disabilities in planning for disasters. A court order followed requiring the City to revise its emergency plans to include people with disabilities. Read more.
BCID, et al. v. City of NY, et al. (2013): Case Documents
This federal class action lawsuit was filed in September of 2011. The class of 900,000 New York residents with disabilities included people with vision, hearing, mobility, and mental disabilities.
On November 7, 2013, the Court ruled that New York City discriminated against people with disabilities in its failure to plan for their needs in large scale disasters such as Hurricane Sandy. This was a major victory for hundreds of thousands of children, women, men, and seniors with disabilities, and will likely have national implications. Read more.
Accessible Video and Social Media Toolkit
A compilation of federal guidance, checklists, and testing information for creating and maintaining accessible video, multimedia, and social media using various popular electronic formats and channels including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vine, Wordpress and other social media tools. Sources for these resources are identified by abbreviations for federal components. Other valuable guidance from non-federal sources, including industry and academia, can be found from internet search using relevant keywords such as "accessible presentation." Read more.
Accommodation and Compliance Series: Employers' Guide to Including Employees with Disabilities in Emergency Evacuation Plans
Beth Loy, Ph.D. and Linda Carter Batiste, J.D. (2011). Accommodation and Compliance Series: Employers' Guide to Including Employees with Disabilities in EmergencyEvacuation Plans. Job Accommodation Network. Morgantown, WV: Author.
This publication addresses employers legal obligation to develop emergency evacuation plans and how to include employees with disabilities in such plans. Read more.
A Framework of Emergency Preparedness Guidelines for Federal Agencies. Preparing the Workplace for Everyone: Accounting for the Needs of People with Disabilities
Office of Disability Employment Policy. (2005, July). A Framework of Emergency Preparedness Guidelines for Federal Agencies. Preparing the Workplace for Everyone: Accounting for the Needs of People with Disabilities. Washington, DC: Author.
Preparing a Workplace for Everyone is meant to serve as a launching point for federal agencies as they re-evaluate and strengthen their Occupant Emergency Plans (OEPs), which are required for all federal agencies by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). This framework of guidelines reflects the effective practices of nearly 20 federal agencies gathered from direct input, existing reports and articles, and actual emergency plans. Read more.
Disability.Gov Emergency Preparedness Links
The Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities helped develop several resources to assist individuals, organizations, and employers create emergency preparedness plans that take into account the needs of people with disabilities. Read more.
Evacuating Populations with Special Needs: Routes to Effective Evacuation Planning Primer Series
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Operations, Emergency Transportation Operations. (April 2009). Evacuating Populations with Special Needs: Routes to Effective Evacuation Planning Primer. Washington, D.C.: Author.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) primer, Evacuating Populations with Special Needs, is the third in the Routes to Effective Evacuation Planning primer series. This installment focuses on evacuating people who need assistance in leaving an area, particularly people with disabilities, aging populations, people living in congregate or residential care facilities, and those with household pets. This primer can assist transportation agencies, emergency managers, first responders, and special needs service organizations understand applicable legislation-including new legislation passed after the Hurricane Katrina response-and develop and implement evacuations of special needs populations. Read more.
Accessibility of Emergency Information on Television
Federal Communications Commission, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. (November 2015). Consumer Guide: Accessibility of Emergency Information on Television. Washington, D.C.: Author.
FCC rules require broadcasters and cable operators to make local emergency information accessible to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, and to persons who are blind or have visual disabilities. This rule means that emergency information must be provided both aurally and in a visual format...Read more.
Fact Sheet on Closed Captioning and Access to Emergency Information
Federal Communications Commission, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. (January 2017). Fact Sheet: Closed Captioning and Access to Emergency Information. Washington, D.C.: Author.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules for TV closed captioning ensure that viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing have full access to programming, address captioning quality and provide guidance to video programming distributors and programmers. The rules apply to all television
programming with captions, requiring that captions be…Read more.
Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities in the Provision of Disaster Mass Care, Housing, and Human Services
The Reference Guide was originally developed in response to the requirement of H.R. 5441 (PL 109-295), Section 689: Individuals with Disabilities, to develop disability related guidelines for use by those who serve individuals with disabilities in emergency preparedness and disaster relief. Read more.
Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) Basic Training Participant Manual
The National Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) Program continues to promote CERT training for all audiences. In addition to the recent release of the low vision and Spanish versions of the CERT Basic Training Participant Manual, we are pleased to announce the release of the Participant Manual in Braille and PDF screen reader versions. Each version includes the same content as the standard version Participant Manual—the nine units of the course and 13 hazard annexes.
Training Materials: Local CERT program coordinators/managers can request copies of the Braille version of the Participant Manual. Please call the FEMA Distribution Center at 1-800-480-2520 or email FEMA-Publications-Warehouse@dhs.gov. Use Publication Number P-856 and Catalog Number 11189-2 to order the Participant Manual (four volumes in Braille). For additional tools for communicating with all audiences, including people with disabilities, please visit the FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination Preparedness Resources website.
Course for Including People With Disabilities & Others With Access & Functional Needs in Disaster Operations
Including People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs in Disaster Operations, a course designed for all personnel involved in disaster operations at the Joint Field Office (JFO) and in other disaster facilities and activities, has been released and is available to take. The purpose of this course is to increase awareness and understanding of the need for full inclusion of disaster survivors and FEMA staff who are people with disabilities, and people with access and functional needs. The course provides an overview of disabilities and access and functional needs and explains how disaster staff can apply inclusive practices in their disaster assignments. Take the Course.
Disability Integration - Disaster Recovery Center
Public service announcement to provide valuable information to disaster survivors who use sign language as their mode of communication. Watch
Disability Integration - How to use American Sign Language Interpreters
This video is about how to use American Sign Language interpreters in emergency response and recovery actions. Watch
Disability Integration - Inspector Visit
Public service announcement to provide valuable information about Inspector Visits to disaster survivors who use sign language as their mode of communication. Watch
Disability Integration - Just Ask
Public service announcement to provide valuable information to disaster survivors who use sign language as their mode of communication. Watch
Disability Integration - Registration
Public service announcement for homeowners, renters, and business owners affected by a disaster can register with FEMA for disaster assistance. The assistance that may be provided includes: money for temporary housing and essential home repairs, and other serious disaster-related needs. Watch
Disability Integration Works with Disaster Survivor Assistance
During a declared disaster, Disability Integration Advisors are embedded with Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams to help survivors with disabilities and access and functional needs and are able toaddress those needs on the spot. Watch
Emergency Planning for People with Access & Functional Needs
This video is intended for emergency management personnel and focuses on emergency planning for populations with access and functional needs, sometimes called "Inclusive Planning." This includes people with disabilities, mobility issues, special needs, and vulnerabilities. The video emphasizes the need for a plan that covers all members of the community and ways to identify and incorporate populations with functional needs into the emergency planning process. Watch
FEMA Assistance does not Impact Government Benefits
Video that covers if you have government benefits, there will not be a reduction in benefits if you receive money from FEMA. Watch
Getting Real: Promising Practices in Inclusive Emergency Management
September 2011 conference by FEMA and co-sponsors, the National Council on Disability (NCD) and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Promising practices in emergency management that strengthen the whole community’s capacity to prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate the impact of disasters were presented. Read more.
Guidance on Planning for Integration of Functional Needs Support Services in General Population Shelters
The purpose of this document is to provide planning guidance that can be incorporated into existing shelter plans to State emergency managers and shelter planners to meet access and functional needs in general population shelters. This document provides guidance to assist emergency managers and shelter planners in understanding the requirements related to sheltering children and adults with functional support needs in general population shelters. Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) and the guidance provided are designed to assist in the planning and resourcing of sheltering operations whether government, NGO, faith- or private-based to meet the access and functional needs of children and adults. These guidelines identify methods of achieving a lawful and equitable program through the delivery of FNSS for children and adults. Read more.
Individuals with Disabilities or Access & Functional Needs
If you have a disability or an access and functional need, you may need to take additional steps to prepare for emergencies.
- Stock a basic disaster supply kit.
- Inventory what you use every day to live independently.
- Identify the essential things that you will need to be able to survive for 3 to 5 days or longer, if people cannot get to you. Stock these custom essentials in your kit. For example, your kit may contain items such as durable medical equipment, assistive technology, food for special diets, prescription medicines, diabetic supplies, hearing aids and batteries, a TTY, manual wheelchair, and supplies for a service animal.
For more information visit Ready.gov's Access & Functional Needs page.
National Planning Frameworks
The Frameworks describe how the whole community works together to achieve the National Preparedness Goal. There is one Framework for each of the five mission areas, Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery. The intended audience for the page is individuals, families, communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and local, state, tribal,territorial, insular area, and Federal governments. Read more.
National Preparedness System
The National Preparedness System is intended to be used by the whole community. The intended audience for this page is individuals, families, communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith- based organizations, and local, state, tribal, territorial, insular area, and Federal governments. Read more.
Office of Disability Integration and Coordination
This page is for anyone interested in learning more about the mission and role of the office within the agency and the larger emergency management community. Read more.
People with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs: Preparing and Planning for an Emergency
If you or someone close to you has a disability and other access and functional needs, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family in an emergency. This reports lists the possible "additional steps" based on disability and other access and functional needs.Additional steps include:Consider how a disaster might affect your individual needs.Plan to make it on your own, at least for a period of time. It's possible that you will not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore.Identify what kind of resources you use on a daily basis and what you might do if they are limited or not available. Build A Kit with your unique consideration in mind. What do you need to maintain your health, safety and independence? Read more.
Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs
FEMA. (August, 2004). Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs. Washington, DC: Author.
For the millions of Americans who have physical, medical, sensory or cognitive disabilities, emergencies such as fires, floods and acts of terrorism present a real challenge. The same challenge also applies to the elderly and other special needs populations. Protecting yourself and your family when disaster strikes requires planning ahead. This booklet will help you get started. Read more.
Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs
This brief was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in consultation with AARP, the American Red Cross and the National Organization on Disability and updated by the FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination and outlines supplies necessary to create your own basic three-day emergency supply and readiness kit.
Using Universal Design in Disaster Recovery
During recovery from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, many homeowners were faced with the decision to elevate their home to prevent potential damage in future flood events. Living in an elevated home presents challenges for anyone but is especially difficult for people with disabilities. During recovery from a disaster, disability advocates promote the use of "universal design". Universal design isplanning space with accommodations such as elevators or lifts, to assist anyone, with or without a disability. Watch
We Prepare Everyday
A two minute video brought to you by the Ready Campaign and Ad Council showing people with disabilities taking charge to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies. The Public Service Announcement emphasizes the Ready Campaign’s four building blocks of preparedness -
Be Informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit and Get Involved. This video is available with open caption, certified deaf interpreter (CDI) and open caption, and with CDI, open caption and audio descriptions. Watch
Information Regarding Insulin Storage and Switching Between Products in an Emergency
Insulin from various manufacturers is often made available to patients in an emergency and may be different from a patient's usual insulin. After a disaster, patients in the affected area may not have access to refrigeration. According to the product labels from all three U.S. insulin manufacturers, it is recommended that insulin be stored in a refrigerator at approximately 36 to 46 degrees F. Unopened and stored in this manner, these products maintain potency until the expiration date on the package. However, all of the available insulin products may be left unrefrigerated (between 59 and 86 degrees F) for up to 28 days and still maintain potency. Read more.
Effective Communications for People with Disabilities: Before, During, and After Emergencies
National Council on Disability. (2014). Effective Communications for People with Disabilities: Before, During, and After Emergencies. Washington, DC:. Author.
A new report by the National Council on Disability (NCD) describes effective communication practices with people with disabilities before, during and after emergencies. This report identifies barriers, facilitators, and successful practices to providing effective emergency-related communications. The report examines the current state of affairs concerning the accessibility of emergency-related communications; reviews the enforcement of disability laws and regulations as they pertain to effective communications before, during, and after emergencies. Information on the experiences and perceptions of people with disabilities as they relate to emergency-related communications is also provided. Read more.
Effective Emergency Management: Making Improvements for Communities and People with Disabilities
National Council on Disability. (2014). Effective Emergency Management: Making Improvements for Communities and People with Disabilities. Washington, D.C.: Author.
This report calls on federal, state, and local authorities to make sweeping changes in emergency management practices for people with disabilities. NCD's report offers information and advice to assist all levels of government in their work to establish evidence-based policies, programs, and practices across the life cycle of disasters. Read more.
Findings and recommendations contained in the publications in this section come from analyses of applicable laws, regulations, policy guidance, barriers, promising practices, and emergency management models that include active involvement of knowledgeable people with disabilities during each phase. Read more.
Saving Lives: Including People with Disabilities in Emergency Planning
National Council on Disability. (2005). Saving Lives: Including People with Disabilities in Emergency Planning. Washington, D.C.: Author.
This report provides an overview of steps the Federal Government should take to build a solid and resilient infrastructure that will enable the government to include the diverse populations of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness, disaster relief, and homeland security programs. This infrastructure incorporates access to technology, physical plants, programs, and communications. It also includes procurement and emergency programs and services. Read more.
The Impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on People with Disabilities: A Look Back and Remaining Challenges
National Council on Disability. (2006). Saving Lives: Including People with Disabilities in Emergency Planning. Washington, D.C.: Author.
As this report will demonstrate, people with disabilities were disproportionately affected by the Hurricanes because their needs were often overlooked or completely disregarded.The National Council on Disability (NCD) offers these findings on the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on people with disabilities to guide the President, Congress, and other emergency planners to develop inclusive emergency preparedness and response plans. Read more.
Functional Needs of People with Disabilities: A Guide for Emergency Managers, Planners and Responders
This guide highlights key disability concerns to officials and experts responsible for emergency planning in their communities. Read more.
Prepare Yourself: Disaster Readiness Tips for People with Disabilities
Read the brochure for more information and additional resources.
U.S. Access Board Issues Guidelines for Emergency Transportable Housing
The U.S. Access Board has issued guidelines that address access to temporary housing provided by the government in emergencies and natural disasters. The new requirements supplement the Board's accessibility guidelines for facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) by adding provisions and exceptions specific to emergency transportable housing units. Read more.
American Red Cross (February, 2003). Fact Sheet on Shelter in Place. Washington, DC: Author.
One of the instructions you may be given in an emergency where hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere is to shelter-in-place. This is a precaution aimed to keep you safe while remaining indoors. (This is not the same thing as going to a shelter in case of a storm.) Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire home or office building. If you are told to shelter-in-place, follow the instructions provided in this Fact Sheet On Shelter-In-Place.
CalEPA Emergency Response Management Committee (ERMaC)
ERMaC’s mission is to manage public health and environmental consequences of emergency events through effective, coordinated agency-wide preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation activities. ERMaC is responsible for emergency planning and training, and coordinates all CalEPA entities in emergency response and recovery. It serves as the forum for developing and maintaining the CalEPA collective Administrative Orders and emergency response plans. Read more.
California Department of Developmental Services
Feeling Safe, Being Safe
Guided by the Consumer Advisory Committee of the California Department of the Developmental Services, Feeling Safe, Being Safe materials provide practical learning required to put together personal emergency preparedness plans to share with family, neighbors and community support agencies. Read more.
California Emergency Preparedness Office (EPO)
Coordinates overall planning and preparedness efforts for the California Department of Public Health. EPO plans and executes activities to prepare Californians for public health emergencies, coordinates planning for the Strategic National Stockpile, maintains contact names and numbers for crisis response, oversees statewide public health disaster planning, and distributes and oversees funds to local health departments for disaster planning. Read more.
California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Website
Click here to go to their website. and toolkit was produced as part of a pilot project to support counties in planning for the evacuation and transportation needs of all their citizens during an emergency. Read more.
Shakeout 2014: Five Videos for People with Access and Functional Needs
ShakeOut drills across the state of California. Watch
University of Connecticut. (2009). A Guide for Including People with Disabilities in
Disaster Preparedness Planning. Connecticut: Author.
This guide, written for municipal and regional planners, reflects information, concerns and recommendations that emerged at the daylong forum on December 6, 2005, on "Lessons Learned" from recent large-scale disasters that affected states along the Gulf Coast. Discussions among forum participants focused on sharing information about Connecticut's system for planning and responding to large scale emergencies, and on ways to make sure the needs of people with disabilities are met. This guide is written to facilitate that process. Read more.
State of Illinois. (November 2010). Emergency Preparedness Tips for those with Functional Needs. State of Illinois Terrorism Task Force.
Being prepared for disasters or emergencies is critically important in today's ever changing environment. it is even more important for those with disabilities, special needs or those who may need assistance in the event of a disaster or other emergency. This document has been specially developed by a team of emergency management and health professionals to help assist those with special needs to be better prepared for a disaster or emergency. Additional information from our Ready Illinois website on how to become better prepared. Read the guide.
Illinois Emergency Management Agency Sign Language Preparedness Videos
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission collaborated to create a series of videos presenting vital preparedness messages in American Sign Language. Watch
City of Worcester. (2013) Voluntary Emergency Preparedness Registry. Massachusetts: Author
The Voluntary Emergency Preparedness Registry allows people with disabilities (mobility, visual, hearing, cognitive or mental health) to register in advance with the City of Worcester so that emergency workersmay better plan their responses to natural and manmade disasters when ordinary support services are impaired or unavailable. More about the registry.
Familiy Preparedness Planner
Mayor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness. (2009). Family Preparedness Planner. Boston: Author.
The Family Preparedness Planner is an interactive application that residents complete by filling out the addresses of important locations — such as schools, workplaces and an out-of-town meeting place — and contact information for family, workplaces, schools and doctors/veterinarians. Residents also can upload digital photos of household members and pets. Read more.
Functional Needs Planning Toolkit for Emergency Planners
This toolkit will focus on individuals who primarily have access and functional needs in the functional areas that are most critical for responding to an emergency. Those areas are: Communications, Maintaining health, Independence, Supervision, safety and support, and Transportation. A common acronym used in referring to 4 these 5 functional areas is CMIST. The toolkit also provides information on where local planners can look for help in engaging those with functional needs and agencies who provide services to them. Read more.
Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Accessible Emergency Information
The Northeast Texas Public Health District has compiled 18 Emergency Preparedness Topics and formatted the information to be friendly to deaf, blind, and limited sight populations. The information is in video and downloadable document format for public use. Read more.
Texas Accessibility Checklist for Temporary Emergency Shelters
Based on the accessibility requirements contained in theTexas Accessibility Standards (TAS) Effective April 1, 1994. This document provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the TAS and the regulations governing accessibility requirementsfor all facilities located in the State of Texas. Read more.
Texas Department of Public Safety
Click here for information on events and resources for the emergency management community.
Texas Disability Task Force on Emergency Management
Convened in late 2011, this taskforce serves as a resource to the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to provide input to the Texas emergency management community that will enhance state and local emergency management planning and response and promote preparedness efforts for Texans with disabilities. Read more.
Texas Emergency Communication Toolkit
This toolkit applies to emergency management and public information professionals who work for or with local jurisdictions to communicate warnings, notifications, and other messages to news media and to the public. It also contains face-to-face operational communication tools for shelter managers and first responders. The purpose of the toolkit is to help ensure that emergency communications services and equipment address the functional and access needs of people with disabilities as part of a “whole
community” approach endorsed by FEMA. Read more.
Texas Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS)
To provide planning guidance to local emergency management and shelter planners, the State of Texas FNSS Integration Committee has created a tool kit that can be incorporated into existing shelter plans to meet access and functional needs in general population shelters. This tool kit provides guidance to assist planners in understanding the requirements related to sheltering children and adults with and without disabilities who have access and functional needs in the state of Texas. Read more.
Just in case...Be Ready for an Emergency: An Emergency Readiness Planning Guide for People Who May Need Extra Assistance.
Department of Disabilities, Aging & Independent Living. (2011) Just in case...Be Ready for an Emergency: An Emergency Readiness Planning Guide for People Who May Need Extra Assistance. Vermont: Author.
This booklet offers practical tips and guidance on how to stay safe during an emergency. It is written especially for people with special needs, and will help you to:
- Think about what you will need during an emergency
- Identify a support team and put together an emergency contact list
- Prepare to be safe in your home, if it's not possible to get out for a few days
- Be ready to leave your home (evacuate) if you need to. Read more.
Winter Preparendess Tips
Fairfax County, VA. (2013). Winter Preparedness Tips. Fairfax, VA: Author.
People with disabilities may want to take extra care during the cold weather season. Some disabling conditions may limit sensory abilities and the ability to maintain body heat, so be particularly vigilant about staying warm when you are out in low temperatures. Read more.
Washington Emergency Management Division
Accessible Communication 4 All
Diane Nelson Bryen, Ph.D. Accessible Communication 4 All. Temple University. University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service. Philadelphia, PA: Institute on Disabilities.
Communication during times of emergency is critical. However, many individuals may not communicate effectively due to their disability, injury, or shock. For others, spoken English may not be effective as well. Free downloadable communication aids in English and Spanish. These aids can be used during times of emergency when spoken English or Spanish may not effective Read more.
ADA National Network/FEMA Webinar Series: Emergency Management and Preparedness-Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities
Pacific ADA Center and the ADA National Network. (2012). Emergency Preparedness Webinar Series. Oakland, CA: Pacific ADA Center and the ADA National Network.
National state, and local entities and communities are increasingly planning emergency management and preparedness to handle disasters. Emergencies and disasters can be particularly concerning for people with disabilities. Successful outcomes for people with disabilities in disasters will depend on the how inclusive the plans are. These free webinars will focus on key strategies and approaches at various levels (federal, state, and local) toward emergency management and preparedness and the inclusion of
people with disabilities. Watch
Apps for Enhancing Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) Access
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC). (2017). Factsheet: Apps for Enhancing Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) Access. Atlanta, GA: Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies.
This factsheet provides a description of some smartphone apps that can be used to enhance WEA access. The factsheet explains different apps, their features, and how to use them to better understand WEA messages and aid in responding to the WEA messages appropriately. Links for each app are included. Read more.
Are You Ready? Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities
Watch a recorded webinar on strategies in preparing individuals who have a variety of needs (including access and functional) for disasters and emergencies. The webinar also discusses the role of assistive technology (AT) reuse and special considerations for AT users.
Autism and First Responders: Seeing Beyond the Smoke
The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, in collaboration with Willow Grove Fire Company, Upper Moreland Police Department and Horsham Fire Company, has produced and released the video, Autism and First Responders: Seeing Beyond the Smoke to help increase awareness of the unique issues presented by people with autism, and to inform fire fighters, police officers and other first responders on how to recognize signs of children and young adults with autism. Parents, family members, educators and others who support people with autism will also find valuable information in the video. Watch
Checklist for Inclusive Emergency Management
June Isaacson Kailes. (2014). Checklist for Integrating People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs into Emergency Preparedness, Planning, Response & Recovery. California: Center for Disability and Health Policy, Western University of Health Sciences.
This checklist is for emergency planners, managers, responders, and public information officers (PIOs) who have responsibility for developing, maintaining, testing, delivering and revising emergency plans and services. Read more.
Disaster Resources for People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs
This website contains an array of emergency preparedness tools and resources based on functional needs. Read more.
Effective Communication with People with Disabilities - A Curriculum for Public Information Officers
Pennsylvania Department of Health and Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. Effective Communication with People with Disabilities - A Curriculum for Public Information Officers. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University's Center for Preparedness Research, Education, and Planning (CPREP), College of Public Health and the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education.
The Effective Emergency Communication with People with Access and Functional Needs training course was developed by the PA Department of Health in collaboration with Temple University's Center for Preparedness Research, Education, and Planning (CPREP), College of Public Health and the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education. Read more.
Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities
National Fire Protection Association. (June 2016). Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities. Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association.
NFPA's Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities provides information on the five general 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. It also includes a checklist that building services managers and people with disabilities can use to design a personalized evacuation plan, as well as government resources and text based on the relevant code requirements and ADA criteria. Read more.
Emergency Evacuation Preparedness - Taking Responsibility for Your Safety: A Guide for People with Disabilities and other Limitations
June Isaacson Kailes. (2002). Emergency Evacuation Preparedness - Taking Responsibility for Your Safety: A Guide for People with Disabilities and other Limitations. California: The Center for Disability Issues and the Health Professions, Western University of Health Sciences.
This guide focuses on people with disabilities and activity limitations and their successful evacuation ofbuildings. Its goal is to help strengthen your evacuation preparedness. Read more.
Encountering People with Disabilities in Emergency Situations
Watch a recorded webinar for first responders on how to communicate with people with disabilities: "Encountering People with Disabilities in Emergency Situations" recorded on August 21, 2013.
Fire Safety for Wheelchair Users at Home and at Work
United Spinal Association. (2011). Wheelchair Safety at Home and at Work. East Elmhurst, NY: United Spinal Association.
By understanding their special evacuation needs, people with limited mobility and first responders can improve their chances of evacuating their workplace or home safely. This brochure will emphasize the
evacuation protocol for wheelchair users from these two areas. Read more.
Inclusive Emergency Management 101: Integrating the Disability Community in Disaster Planning and Response
Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies. Course: Inclusive Emergency Management 101: Integrating the Disability Community in Disaster Planning and Response. Charleston, SC: Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies.
This course was developed by individuals with disabilities who themselves have experience in the field of Emergency Management. It is designed to promote Disability Competency by improving the disability-related body of knowledge of Emergency Management students and professionals, first responders, the workforce of disaster relief and recovery agencies and non-profit organizations. Learn more.
National Fire Protection Association
NFPA has long been involved with developing strategies and fire safety educational materials for people with disabilities. Please download and use any of the free educational materials we have developed for people with disabilities, friends and families, and workplaces, schools and communities. Read more.
Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies (PIDS)
The Partnership was established to identify and bridge gaps, increase sustainable relationships and grow the number of emergency preparedness actors committed to inclusive emergency management. The partnership offers grassroots solutions and supports to keep expanding disability stakeholder participation to improve the quality and capacity of local leadership to achieve universal accessibility, equal access and full inclusion throughout emergency preparedness, response, recovery and
mitigation. Learn more.
Pass It On Center Emergency Management
The Pass It On Center is actively addressing issues of national significance in AT device reutilization, providing technical assistance to entities engaged in or planning to engage in AT device reutilization, and coordinating and networking entities involved in AT device reutilization. This Knowledge Base is a product of the Center and contributing AT reuse programs throughout America! Read more.
Portlight Strategies, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1997 to facilitate a variety of projects involving people with disabilities, including post-disaster relief work. Portlight's longest running disaster recovery effort followed the devastation of Superstorm Sandy in the shore communities of New Jersey and parts of New York City, and lasted for 18 months. During that time, we replaced lost durable medical equipment and ramping, and assisted residents in purchasing and installing accessibility equipment that was made necessary after their homes were elevated to meet federal flood insurance requirements. Learn more.
Tools for Personal Emergency Preparedness
Resources section of this website show how to prepare. Read more.
ASB Arbeitet Samariter Bund
German website focused on inclusive emergency preparedness in the international community. Read more.
CBM is an international Christian development organization, committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world. Read more.
Centre for Disability in Development (CDD)
CDD exists to ensure that persons with disabilities are included in mainstream development activities in Bangladesh. We believe that this can only be achieved by taking a twin-track approach i.e., educating the community in how to be more inclusive and removing the barriers to inclusion whilst simultaneously empowering persons with disabilities to participate in society by providing them with essential supports. The barriers to inclusion need to be removed on both sides if persons with disabilities are to be given the same rights and freedoms as everyone else. Read more.
Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network
Website for upcoming international disaster risk reduction conferences and additional resources. Learn more.
Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Management: Voices from the Field and Good Practices
CBM International. Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Management: Voices from the Field and Good Practices. Bensheim, Germany: Author.
This publication would like to contribute with advocating for a more inclusive Disaster Risk Management (DRR) where persons with disabilities are active participants and not overlooked in relief and response
actions. Read more.
Guidance Note on Disability and Emergency Risk Management for Health
World Health Organization. (2013). Guidance Note on Disability and Emergency Risk Management for Health. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO Press.
This short, practical guide covers actions across emergency risk management such as risk assessment, prevention (including hazard and vulnerability reduction), preparedness, response, recovery and reconstruction. It outlines the minimum steps health actors should take to ensure that specific support is available for people with disabilities when needed and to ensure that disability is included in the development and implementation of general health actions in all emergency contexts, that is, natural and technological hazards, epidemic diseases and other biological hazards, and conflicts and other societal hazards. Read more.
Handicap International is an independent and impartial aid organization working in situations of poverty
and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, taking action and bearing witness in order to respond to their essential needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.
Check out their library of international advocacy publications. Read more.
Major Hazards and People with Disabilities
David Alexander and Silvio Sagramola. (2014). Major Hazards and People with Disabilities. Council of Europe: European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement Consortium (EUR-OPA). Author.
This publication provides an overview of the state of the art in emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction for people with disabilities. It asks whether an adequate level of resilience has been achieved by and on behalf of people with disabilities. Read more.
Pacific Disability Forum
The Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) is a regional peak body that works in partnership with Disabled Persons Organizations in the Pacific region. Read more.
South Asian Disability Forum
South Asian Disability Forum (SADF) is an international network of Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) which would work as a think-tank for the disability sector in the eight countries in South Asia, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Read more.
Crisis, Conflict and Disability: Ensuring Equality
Routledge Advances in Disability Studies. 2014. Crisis, Conflict and Disability: Ensuring Equality. David Mitchell and Valerie Karr, Editors. New York, NY: Author.
People with disabilities are among the most adversely affected during conflict situations or when natural disasters strike. They experience higher mortality rates, have fewer available resources and less access to help, especially in refugee camps, as well as in post-disaster environments. Already subject to severe discrimination in many societies, people with disabilities are often overlooked during emergency evacuation, relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts. Learn more.
Disability and Disasters: Explorations and Exchanges
Disability and Disaster: Explorations and Exchanges. Kelman, I and Stough, L. M, Editors. (2015). Palgrave MacMillan, United Kingdom: Author.
Disability and Disaster adds disaster research to the expanding area of disability studies. This edited collection includes writings by international scholars and first-hand narratives from individuals with disabilities, or knowing people with disabilities, affected by disaster. Learn more.
Helping People with Mental Health Conditions Prepare for Disasters - Trainer's Guide
(2018). The Roles of Peer Specialists before Disasters Strike: Helping People with Mental Health Conditions Prepare for Disasters—Trainer’s Guide. The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse and the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion.
People with mental health conditions are as likely to be caught up in natural or man-made disasters as anyone else. These disasters can have serious practical and emotional impacts, which can be minimized with planning and preparation. This guide is designed to help peer specialists support people with mental health conditions to prepare strategies before disaster strikes. Learn more.
The Right to Be Rescued: Disability Justice in an Age of Disaster
Adrien A. Weibgen. 2014-2015 Volume 124, Number 7. The Right to Be Rescued: Disability Justice in an Age of Disaster. New Haven, CT: The Yale Law Journal.
This Note explores the legal responsibilities that local governments have toward marginalized communities in a time of crisis and argues that people with disabilities (PWDs) have a “right to be rescued”: a legal right to have their unique needs accounted for and addressed in emergency planning. Learn more.