People with Disabilities

This is a photo of a man using a walking frame.

What can you do to reduce the effects of an emergency and to develop a personal emergency plan?

Start by considering the following actions:

  • Create a support network of people who will help you prepare for and cope with an emergency;
  • Consider how you may be affected in an emergency;
  • Complete a personal assessment of your needs;
  • Create an emergency information and contact list;
  • Create a medical information list (see below);
  • Create and regularly review your evacuation plan; and
  • Create a list of your disability supplies and special equipment.

Support 

Write down and share each aspect of your personal emergency plan with everyone in your support network.

If you think that you might need assistance during an emergency talk to people you trust.
 
The people on your list should know what your capabilities and needs are, and be able to offer help at short notice.
 
It's best to include a minimum of three people, including someone who can check on you immediately if an emergency occurs.

How will you be affected?

In the event of an emergency you may not be able to:

  • Do anything that requires electricity e.g. cook, cool/heat your home, turn the lights on, use your television or radio;
  • Make or receive calls or texts;
  • Use teletype equipment; and
  • Use medical devices such as oxygen or home dialysis equipment.

Assessment

It is important to think about what you will be able to do for yourself and what you will need help with.

Start by making a list of needs and the resources available, using the questions below as a guide.

Basics

What sort of personal care assistance will you need in the event of an emergency e.g. help with bathing and dressing.

  • Do you need special utensils to prepare or eat food independently?
  • Do you need access to electricity for equipment such as dialysis machines or lifts?

Mobility

  • If you use a specially equipped transportation vehicle, will you need help to use it?
  • What will you do if your access ramp is unusable?

Help

  • What will you do if the person you depend upon is not available?
  • In the event of an evacuation, will you need help to leave your home?
  • If the lift in your building is not working or cannot be used, is there another exit you can use?
  • Will you need help to use this alternative exit?
  • How will you let someone know that you need help to leave the building?
  • What will you do if you do not have access to mobility aids e.g. wheelchair or guide dog?
  • How will you care for your guide dog or pet during and after an emergency?

List

An emergency information list will let others know who to call if you are unable to communicate during an emergency. Keep copies of the list near your telephone and on your fridge.

Write down how it would be best to communicate with you in an emergency. You should also list the name, phone number/s and address for each person, including your own details. 

People on your list should include:

  • Your doctor;
  • Your care worker; and
  • A close relative or friend.

Medical information

Prepare a medical information list, which should include:

  • Medical conditions you have;
  • Emergency contact details for your medical providers;
  • The names of medications you take, their dosages and other instructions;
  • When you take the medication;
  • The name and phone number of the doctor who prescribed it;
  • The type of health insurance you have and the provider;
  • Any adaptive equipment you use;
  • Any allergies you have;
  • Your blood type;
  • Any physical limitations you have; and
  • Any communication/cognitive difficulties you have.

Evacuation Plan

  • Talk to your care worker, family and friends to develop a simple evacuation plan. Your plan should include information on how you will contact each other in case of an emergency. Don't rely solely on a home telephone as this service may not be available.
  • Show the people who will help you how to operate and safely move any equipment that you use for your disability and practice with it.
  • If you have a guide dog, make sure it knows the people who will help you, as this will make it easier for the dog to accept instructions from them in an emergency.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home, marking up the primary escape route, secondary escape routes, the location of equipment and medications you need and a central meeting place outside your home e.g. letterbox.
  • Prepare a care plan for your guide dog or pets. Remember to take a collar, harness, identification tags, food and medical records.
  • Give a copy of your evacuation plan to the relevant people and keep a copy on your fridge.
  • Practice your evacuation plan with the relevant people.

Related supplies and special equipment

  • Write a list of your disability related supplies and special equipment you will need in the event of an emergency;
  • Include a description of what they look like and where they can be found.