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Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

Hurricanes are among nature's most powerful and destructive forces. Updates regarding weather conditions are available from the National Weather Service. NWS - on average, 12 tropical storms, 6 of which become hurricanes form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season which runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. Hurricane season – when conditions are most favorable for the formation of hurricanes runs from June 1 to November 30 each year.

Be vigilant and alert to local weather and news at National Weather Service and or NOAA Weather Radio. In addition, the Florida Division of Emergency Management website has a section of resources and information specifically tailored for people with disabilities/special needs and their families (available in multiple languages) to help prepare for emergencies, protect themselves and be survivors.  For a complete list of emergency management offices and contacts by county (available in multiple languages), click here.  View individual Florida rules for Special Needs Shelter.


American Red Cross helps you to 'Be Red Cross Ready' (Available in multiple languages)
The American Red Cross is a humanitarian and disaster-relief organization that provides shelter, food, physical and mental health services, financial assistance, transportation, medications, life rebuilding tools to those in desperate need.

Make these items a part of your emergency kit:

  • Emergency Plan Templates: The following templates help with the preparation and practice of an emergency plan that in just three steps will ensure that your family will response appropriately during various types of emergencies.
  • Vial of Life Templates: These linked forms allow individuals to have complete medical information ready in their home for emergency personnel to reference during an emergency.
  • Hurricane Preparedness Kits for Individuals with Autism Suggested Items: Created by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at USF, the following resource is a checklist that is comprised of a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Learn how to secure your property before a disaster and recover afterwards: (Available in multiple languages)

Get a Plan!
Florida Division of Emergency Management Family Disaster Planning website (available in multiple languages) helps you create your family disaster plan as well as find emergency contacts, evacuation routes and more in your county.

Administration for Community Living (ACL)
The ACL is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. It maximizes and supports the independence, well-being, and healthcare services of older adults, people with disabilities, caregivers, and their families.

American Red Cross (Available in multiple languages)
A nonprofit agency with a long history of providing relief to individuals affected by war and natural disaster. Since 1881, it has evolved into a network of approximately 1,300 local chapters of volunteers who respond to flood, fire, earthquake, and drought.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (Available in multiple languages)
Since 1979, FEMA has been tasked as a United States government agency with coordinating the aid and response to natural and man-made disasters around the nation when local resources are insufficient.

FEMA Office of Disability Integration & Coordination (Available in multiple languages)
The purpose of this FEMA office is to integrate and coordinate emergency preparedness, response and recovery operations for children and adults living with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.

Florida Division of Emergency Management Tips for People with Disabilities
This website offers emergency management resources and information specifically to people with disabilities, their caregivers, and their families.

An ADA Guide for Local Governments
This document provides general guidance to assist local governments in understanding and complying with the various requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).

Emergency Checklist
This checklist was designed to help individuals and families get organized before disaster strikes. This list helps with creating a plan and gathering supplies in advance so that you and your family can endure an evacuation or home confinement.

Public Health Emergency: Natural Disasters
This catalog provides an overview and explanation of the technical terms and characteristics of a wide range of natural disasters that occur in select U.S.-based regions and elsewhere around the world.

National Association of School Psychologists Crisis Resources
This resource is made available to the public to support their efforts to promote general health and safety and the ability of children and youth to deal with crisis events.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Disaster Response Tools and Resources (Available in multiple languages)
This resource provides a list of tools that can be used during emergency events and natural disasters to assist in response and recovery efforts.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA): Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Resources (Available in multiple languages)
SAMHSA seeks to provide tools and resources that improve the quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitation services. SAMHSA works to also serve communities and responders with behavioral health resources that help them prepare, respond, and recover from disasters.

Ready Kids
Natural and man-made disasters can happen anywhere and at any time. Ready Kids has the tools and resources that allow kids, teens, and parents to make a big difference when disasters strike.

Weather Wiz Kids
Weather Wiz Kids was created for children to allow them to learn more about the world of weather. This educational website also provides the right tools and resources that prepare teachers and parents to easily explain the different types of weather to children.

Broward County Hurricane Safety Activity Book
This child-friendly activity book provides young children, parents, guardians, and teachers with tips, activities, and illustrations to help whole communities prepare for emergencies. Together with your children and students you can prepare for emergencies by staying informed, prepping emergency kits, and making a communication plan.
Officially launched in 2003, is a National public service campaign designed to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters.

The Red Cross
Plan ahead and review the following disaster safety tips for people with disabilities; keep yourself and your loved ones safe during an emergency.
Finding shelter is a critical step someone can take during a time of need. The following list of linked resources can help you and your family find emergency shelter.

Florida Disability Disaster Planning
A disaster can strike at any time - sometimes without warning. It is important for every Floridian, especially citizens with disabilities and other special needs, to plan ahead for an emergency situation and know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Disaster & Emergency Planning
Floridians, especially Floridians with disabilities who may need assistance with evacuation or while in a shelter, should plan ahead. Preparing while things are safe and calm will help you cope better when a disaster or an emergency occurs.

Special Needs Shelters
If a person is medically stable but needs help with basic tasks or uses an electronic medical device and has no other evacuation options, they should pre-register for a SpNS. Click here to register for a Special Needs Shelter.

Disaster Resources for Floridians with Disabilities

University of Florida (FAVI)
The following emergency preparedness resource guide was developed by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council in partnership with Volunteer Florida. Read up on state specific information that will aid you and your family with preparing for a natural disaster and other types of emergencies.

Find your local Red Cross
The important work of the American Red Cross is made possible by people who contribute their individual talents and skill levels to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. See all the opportunities and disaster-relief services that the Red Cross provides by searching for your local Red Cross chapter today.