Emergency Assistance for People with Special Needs

Special needs are exactly that — special, unique, individual.

If you, a loved one or neighbor has health or mobility related concerns, it is best to contact an organization that understands these needs.

Contact your state's Attorney General office. They can connect you with state or local nonprofit agencies that will be of the most assistance.

That said, there are a few general tips that may apply to your situation.

  1. Create a network of relatives, friends or co-workers who can be of assistance during an emergency.
    • Record their contact information.
    • Make a list of things they should do in case of an emergency. Be precise. Remember, they might be in panic mode as well.
  2. List facilities and pharmacies that may be able to provide assistance, including local emergency facilities.
    • Distribute these instructions to each person in your network.
  3. Walk your support network through the process as if it were an actual emergency. For example, make sure your support people know how to switch any needed machines to auxiliary power.
  4. Post all instructions in your home, be sure to tell your network where you have posted the instructions.
  5. Consider giving a house key to trusted friends, relatives or assistants.
  6. Register any electrically-powered, life-sustaining equipment with your electric supply company and your community emergency program.
  7. If you are the person who is disabled, wear medical alert tags or bracelets to identify your disability in case of an emergency. Keep a flashlight handy to signal your location to others and for illumination.
  8. For the hearing impaired or deaf, consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-alert feature connected to lights. This specialized equipment is usually available at a local electronics retailer.
  9. If there is a guide dog or other service animal:
    • Be aware that the animal may become confused or disoriented in an emergency.
    • Trained service animals will be allowed to stay in emergency shelters with their owners. However, just in case, store extra food, water and supplies for your helper.
  10. Updated: 5/2009