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Emergency Preparedness

Preparing for Special Needs in an Emergency

Being prepared can sometimes be the difference between life and death in an emergency. But, preparing for an emergency can be a more difficult process if you have special needs or are caring for someone with special needs. This Public Health booklet (4 MB) will offer valuable tips on how to prepare for an emergency if you are:

  • Living with physical impairment
  • Deaf/Hard of hearing
  • Blind/Low vision
  • Living with mental illness
  • Living with developmental/cognitive disabilities
  • Non-English speaking

Our goal at Public Health is to help all Alabamians prepare for emergencies. We hope this information will help those in Alabama with special needs do that a little bit better. Visit Risk Communication to download the following materials:

  • Booklet: Preparing for special needs in an emergency - Tips on how to prepare and resources to assist in planning
  • Brochure: In case of an emergency are you and your child with special needs ready?
  • Review Questions for Emergency Plans


The American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 made it illegal to discriminate and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment. The ADA website offers guides for state and local government to help accommodate people with disabilities. Making Community Emergency Preparedness and Response Programs Accessible to People with Disabilities is a guide that informs emergency responders of how to properly notify, evacuate, transport, shelter, and access medication for persons who have a disability during an emergency. The guide also shows the proper way to access to their mobility devices or service animals while in transit or at shelters.

The power point, Emergency Preparedness For People with Disabilities: Lessons Learned After California Lawsuit is provided by Graham Sisson, JD, Executive Director of the Governor's Office on Disability. This power point reviews the legal considerations, how to develop a emergency preparedness plan, and specific considerations for people with disabilities. It is important for centers to assume a position of preparedness for such disasters or threats to human life, through specific and established plans of actions. This condition of preparedness can only be achieved through thoughtful planning, collaboration, and steadfast commitment by center managers, who have been vested with the responsibility of the safety of their employees, and must include people with disabilities and their activity limitations. The power point provides lists of considerations developed out of the order in the California case.

The power point, Crisis Communication: Understanding and Communicating with an Evolving Audience is provided by Graham Sisson, JD, Executive Director of the Governor's Office on Disability. This power point reviews three basic emergency planning steps needed for people with access and functional needs. Needs and abilities to consider include wheel chair users, blind or visually impaired, deaf or trouble hearing, emotional or mental impairments, and severe medical conditions. In addition, non-English speaking individuals, impaired elderly, dependent children those with no access to transportation, and persons with special dietary needs have special needs. Developing a personalized kit, making a specific plan, and staying informed are all covered.

Page last updated: May 13, 2021