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Emergency Preparedness: Including People with Disabilities

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Emergencies and disasters can strike quickly and without warning, forcing people to quickly leave or be confined in their home unexpectedly. For the millions of Americans who have disabilities, emergencies, such as fires, floods and acts of terrorism, present a real challenge.

Resources from State Disability and Health Programs

The following resources were developed by CDC funded State Disability and Health Programs. Public health professionals, emergency personnel and communities can use them to create emergency preparedness and response plans that are inclusive of people with disabilities.


Learn how State Disability and Health Programs identify the needs of people with disabilities in their states.

Tools and Resources

Find tools and resources developed by State Disability and Health Programs for community members.

Resources for:


See how State Disability and Health Programs have worked with their communities to make sure they are well prepared.

Resources from Federal Agencies

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.

Effective Emergency Preparedness Planning for Employers is a website that includes resources related to workplace emergency preparedness and the needs of employees with disabilities.

emPOWER Map is a tool to find electricity-dependent equipment claims at the U.S. state, territory, county, and zip code level. Over 2.5 million people rely upon electricity-dependent medical and assistive equipment.

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

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.