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Resources for Cal E-Prep

Preparedness Resources

View/Download/Print PDF for CERV Webinar and Video Resources on Emergency Preparedness Here.

Easy-to-access resources that focus on emergency and disaster readiness for vulnerable populations.  

The following are some of the resources developed by federal organizations that can be used to develop disability inclusive emergency preparedness and response plans.

Nobody Left Behind is the result of a three-year study to investigate 30 county level or equivalent emergency management sites across the United States that had experienced a recent disaster. The researchers aimed to determine the readiness of these sites to assist persons with mobility limitations during disasters.

Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs is a booklet from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross that helps people with disabilities prepare for all kinds of emergencies. It includes information on what you need to prepare for daily living, getting around, and evacuating during an emergency.

Effective Emergency Preparedness Planning for Employers is a website that includes resources related to workplace emergency preparedness and the needs of employees with disabilities. It includes some information on legal considerations, gathering information, and suggestions to keep in mind when developing, implementing, and maintaining a workplace emergency plan.

Guidance on Integrating People with Access and Functional Needs into Disaster Preparedness Planning for States and Local Governments

This website will introduce and connect you to available resources and inclusive strategies for integrating the access and functional needs of at-risk individuals into emergency preparedness, response, and recovery planning at all jurisdictional levels.

Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Management for Individuals with Disabilities

This 39 page collection of research reviews explores the topic of emergency and disaster preparedness, and emergency management that is inclusive of individuals with disabilities. Emergencies and natural disasters can strike without warning, forcing people to quickly leave or be confined in their home. For the approximately 57 million people with disabilities, emergencies, such as fires, floods, earthquakes, tornados, and acts of terrorism can present a real challenge.

Planning ahead and being prepared for evacuation or sheltering in place is particularly important for individuals with access and functional needs. Individuals with access and functional needs include but are not limited to children and adults with physical, sensory, intellectual, developmental, cognitive or mental disabilities; older adults; individuals with chronic or temporary health conditions; and women in late stages of pregnancy.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Workbook: To Define, Locate, and Reach Special, Vulnerable, and At-risk Populations in an Emergency: This CDC workbook is intended to provide public health and emergency preparedness planners with better ways to communicate health and emergency information to at-risk individuals with access and functional needs, for all-hazards events, through step-by-step instructions, resources guides and templates.

Resources for First Responders and Emergency Personnel 

Tips for First Responders – Center on Disability Studies. Downloadable. Includes seniors, people with service animals, who are deaf/hearing impaired, blind/visually impaired, mentally ill, chemical sensitivities, cognitive impairments, infants, pregnant women, seizure disorders, brain injuries.

Capacity Building Toolkit for Including Aging and Disability Networks in Emergency Planning:

https://www.naccho.org/uploads/downloadable-resources/Capacity-Building-Toolkit-for-Aging-and-Disability-Networks-2-5-19.pdf This Toolkit serves as a comprehensive resource to help aging and disability networks to increase their ability to plan for and respond to emergencies and disasters. It provides extensive detail regarding: early planning, preparedness planning, public health emergencies, identifying people in need, effective communication strategies, evacuation and transportation needs, sheltering and housing needs, advocacy and recovery.. Organizations currently engaged in emergency planning could use this Toolkit to avoid reinventing any wheels and to expand and improve their capabilities. It includes  curricula, exercises and links to additional resources.

Identifying Vulnerable Older Adults and Legal Options for Increasing Their Protection During All-Hazards Emergencies


The goal of this guide is to provide information and resources for organizations and service providers that specialize in supporting vulnerable older adults. Older adults are a diverse group in terms of their physical and mental health, and vulnerability cannot be characterized by age alone. There are many overarching considerations when working with this population and a long list of agencies that are able to help. Being able to identify who needs help, which organizations or resources are most appropriate, what level of hazard and emergency is taking place, and then developing appropriate plans can make a huge difference in outcomes.

Overcoming Communication Barriers in Emergency Situations: Some Basic Tools

This guide contains a selection of some of the more common communication tools that first response personnel can use to facilitate communication while in the field.

Download the guide HERE

Does Your Organization Have a Disaster Plan?

Disasters can happen anywhere, and at any time. Many of these disasters can have a significant impact on your organization, your constituents, your employees and their families, and the community you serve. This guide will help with advance planning and creating a disaster plan.

Download the guide HERE

Topic Boards / Vocabulary Resources

Emergency Checklist: https://ussaac.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/EmergencyChecklistwSymbols.pdf This checklist is for individuals who have limited speech. It will help them to communicate in an emergency, and also includes a graphic on what can or is included in their Go Bag.

Vocabulary Set – Emergency Preparedness: https://disabilities.temple.edu/aacvocabulary/EMERGENCY.shtml This website contains vocabulary sets and downloadable emergency communication aids.

Emergency Preparedness Narrative: https://aac-rerc.psu.edu/images/file/BillyBuildsaKit-storybook2.pdf A child-centered narrative on the process of preparing a kit for emergencies.

Communication Passport for Accidents and Emergencies: https://widgit-health.com/downloads/A-and-E-passport.htm This color-coded card system allows individuals with learning disabilities and/or other communication related special needs to inform others of things they must have, things that are important to them, and their likes and dislikes.

Emergency Communication for All (EC4All) app: https://abledata.acl.gov/product/ec4all

https://aaccommunity.net/2018/09/emergency-preparation-for-aac/ This website provides information on an app called EC4All. It is a voice output direct selection and symbolic communicator program designed for use by individuals with communication, cognitive, learning, developmental or speech disabilities, or autism.

Show Me – A Communication Tool for Emergency Shelters: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/show-me This website describes and provides information on how to get the Show Me suite of tools, including a free booklet, and two apps. The booklet is meant to help individuals arriving at a shelter to communicate on a range of topics; from check-in, to medicine, to food, to describing what happened to their home. The app has similar topics, but also includes emergency dispensing sites (EDS) and door-to-door outreach required for shelter-in place or evacuation directives. 

Free Tools for Communicating During Disasters and Emergencies:

Download the kit HERE.

First responders can now access a rapidly growing body of free and downloadable communication boards, communication tip guides and mobile apps that are useful in overcoming communication barriers in a wide variety of emergency settings, from emergency shelters, to emergency rooms, to ambulances, to trauma centers, etc. This resource outlines several downloadable paper resources and free mobile apps for I-Phone and Android. The communication boards can be printed on stiff card stock or laminated for longevity. They include English, Spanish, ASL, and other language resources for people with communication needs. The free Apps include ways to contact important family members, doctors, etc, in addition to providing images and phrases that help individuals communicate their needs and wants. There is a translation app that can help first responders communicate in multiple languages, as well as an alert based app that shares information on emergency events, news and alerts.

Personal Preparedness

FEMA: https://training.fema.gov/emi.aspx The Emergency Management Institute supports the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA’s goals by improving the competencies of the U.S. officials in Emergency Management at all levels of government to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the potential effects of all types of disasters and emergencies on the American people. This link leads to information on a range of programs and training opportunities.

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD): https://www.nvoad.org/ NVOAD is an association of organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters, provides a forum promoting cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration; and fosters more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster. This page gives information on the organization, how to help, and about member organizations.

Downloadable checklist: https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit Learn how to build a disaster kit that will help you survive for at least 72 hours. There is also information on how and where to store your kit. 

Mi Pasaporte de Salud: 


This four-page healthcare passport includes information and visuals to help Spanish speakers communicate their needs and preferences in an emergency. However, the visual aids are clear enough to also help non-Spanish speakers understand the passport holder´s needs. Some of the information present includes: biographical information, language ability, important medical information, daily requirements and preferences. There are also sections for preferred activities and how to make future appointments.

Ready for Disaster: https://www.ready.gov/ Plan ahead for thunderstorms, flooding, power outages, severe weather, extreme heat, active shooters, and tornadoes. Learn how to get involved and make sure you are financially prepared for an emergency.

Making a Go-bag: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Go-Bag This is an easy how-to guide that includes both pictures and descriptions. The guide includes what to put in a Go Bag and where to store it.

Emergency Readiness Plan: 

https://disabilities.temple.edu/programs/eprep/docs/EmergencyPlanForm2015-07.pdf This readiness plan template includes space for medications and other health care needs, as well as information on specific ailments or disabilities. It can be customized to the person in need. There is also information and checklists related to emergency readiness. 

General Resources for People with Disabilities:

The Partnership for inclusive Disaster Strategies (PiDS). Disaster Strategies. Inclusive disaster planning and emergency preparedness for people with disabilities and others who also have access and functional needs (older adults, people with limited English proficiency or low literacy, people with temporary health conditions, pregnant women, etc.).

Pass it On Center. National AT Reuse Center that assists people during /after a disaster to gain access to lost/damaged durable medical equipment/assistive technology. 

Portlight’s Disaster Survivors with Disabilities National Hotline (800) 626-4959. A place to go for people with disabilities involved in a disaster to go for assistance.

Disaster Preparation for Individuals with Disabilities:

Get Informed



  • Know what disasters could affect your area, which could call for an evacuation and when to shelter in
  • Keep a NOAA Weather Radio tuned to your local emergency station and monitor TV, radio, and follow mobile alert and mobile warnings about severe weather in your
  • Download the FEMA app, receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.

Make a Plan



How might a disaster affect you? Could you make it on your own for at least three days? After a disaster, you may not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore, so it’s crucial to plan for the resources you use regularly, and what you would do if those resources are limited or not available. Additional planning steps should include:

  • Create a support network. Keep a contact list in a watertight container in your emergency kit.
  • Be ready to explain to first responders that you need to evacuate and choose to go to a shelter with your family, service animal, caregiver, personal assistant, and your assistive technology devices and
  • Plan ahead for accessible transportation that you may need for evacuation or getting to a medical clinic. Work with local services, public transportation or paratransit to identify your local or private accessible transportation
  • Inform your support network where you keep your emergency supplies; you may want to consider giving one member a key to your house or
  • Contact your city or county government’s emergency management agency or office. Many local offices keep lists of people with disabilities so they can be helped quickly in a sudden
  • If you are dependent on dialysis or other life-sustaining treatment, know the location and availability of more than one
  • If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity, talk to your doctor or health care provider about how you can prepare for its use during a power
  • Wear medical alert tags or
  • If you have a communication disability, make sure your emergency information notes the best way to communicate with
  • If you use an augmentative communications device or other assistive technologies, plan how you will evacuate with the devices or how you will replace equipment if lost or destroyed. Keep model information and note where the equipment came from (Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, etc.)
  • If you use assistive technology devices, such as white canes, CCTV, text-to- speech software, keep information about model numbers and where you purchased the equipment,
  • Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working, including laminated cards with phrases, pictures or
  • Keep Braille/text communication cards, if used, for 2-way
  • Preparedness tips for
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services online tool helps people locate and access their electronic health records from a variety of
  • Plan for children with disabilities and people, who may have difficulty in unfamiliar or chaotic.

Get your benefits electronically



A disaster can disrupt mail service for days or weeks. If you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits, switching to electronic payments is a simple, significant way to protect yourself financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:

  • Direct deposit to a checking or savings account. Federal benefit recipients can sign up by calling (800) 333-1795 or sign up online
  • The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative to paper checks. Call toll-free at (877) 212-9991 or sign up online

Build a Kit



In addition to having your basic survival supplies, an emergency kit should contain items to meet your individual needs in various emergencies. Consider the items you use on a daily basis and which ones you may need to add to your kit.

Tips for People who are deaf or hard of hearing:

  • A weather radio with text display and a flashing alert
  • Extra hearing-aid batteries
  • A TTY
  • Pen and paper in case you have to communicate with someone who does not know sign language.

Tips for People who are blind or have low vision:



  • Mark emergency supplies with Braille labels or large print. Keep a list of your emergency supplies, and where you bought it, on a portable flash drive, or make an audio file that is kept in a safe place where you can access
  • Keep a Braille, or Deaf-Blind communications device as part of your emergency supply.

Tips for People with a Speech Disability:



  • If you use an augmentative communications device or other assistive technologies, plan how you will evacuate with the devices or how you will replace equipment if lost or destroyed. Keep Model information, where the equipment came from (Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, )
  • Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working, including laminated cards with phrases and/or
  • The United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC) maintains a web site with concrete information of use in emergencies (https://ussaac.org/our-impact/disaster-relief/) and supports a Disaster Relief Committee that can help with the replacement of equipment lost during emergencies and disasters.

Tips for People with a mobility disability:

  • If you use a power wheelchair, if possible, have a lightweight manual chair available as a backup. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be
  • Show others how to operate your wheelchair. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair, in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be transported.
  • Purchase an extra battery for a power wheelchair or other battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices. If you are unable to purchase an extra battery, find out what agencies, organizations, or local charitable groups can help you with the purchase. Keep extra batteries on a trickle charger at all
  • Consider keeping a patch kit or can of sealant for flat tires and/or extra inner tube if wheelchair or scooter is not puncture
  • Keep an extra mobility device such as a cane or walker, if you use
  • If you use a seat cushion to protect your skin or maintain your balance, and you must evacuate without your wheelchair, take your cushion with you.

Tips for individuals who may need behavioral support: 

  • Plan for children with disabilities and people including individuals who may have post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), who may have difficulty in unfamiliar or chaotic environments.
    • This may include handheld electronic devices loaded with movies and games (and spare chargers), sheets and twine or a small pop up tent to decrease visual stimulation in a busy room or to provide instant privacy, headphones to decrease auditory distractions, and comfort snacks and toys that meet needs for stimulation.

Additional Items:

  • At least a week-long supply of prescription medicines, along with a list of all medications, dosage, and any allergies
  • Extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries
  • Extra wheelchair batteries (manual wheelchair if possible) and/or oxygen
  • A list of the style and serial number of medical devices. Include special instructions for operating your equipment if
  • Copies of medical insurance and Medicare cards
  • Contact information for doctors, relatives or friends who should be notified if you are
  • Pet food, extra water, collar with ID tag, medical records and other supplies for your service animal
  • Handheld electronic devices loaded with movies and games (and spare chargers), headphones to decrease auditory distractions, and comfort snacks and toys that meet needs for stimulation.

Associated Content:



More information to come!