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Disability Emergency: Disasters, Planning, Climate Change

Updated/Revised Date: 2022-04-06

Synopsis: Information regarding disaster and emergency planning and procedures for seniors and persons with disabilities in emergencies. People with vision, hearing loss, or speech related disabilities often encounter many more communication barriers, especially when regular communication channels are down or overloaded. People with physical disabilities may have reduced ability to get to accessible exits, as well as reduced access to their personal items and emergency supplies.

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Main Document

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a documented process or set of procedures to recover and protect a business IT infrastructure in a disaster. Such a plan, ordinarily documented in written form, specifies procedures an organization is to follow in the event of a disaster. It is "a comprehensive statement of consistent actions to be taken before, during and after a disaster." The disaster could be natural, environmental, or man-made. Man-made disasters could be intentional (for example, an act of a terrorist) or unintentional (that is, accidental, such as the breakage of a man-made dam).

Disability Emergency Planning Publications (54)

People need to plan for emergency evacuation in anticipated and unanticipated situations including chemical, biological, radiological, explosion, transportation accidents, fire, floods, earthquakes, mud slides, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms, and power outages, etc.

For the millions of people with disabilities around the world, surviving a disaster can be just the beginning of a greater struggle. For people with disabilities, barrier free, as well as barrier-ridden environments, become a great deal more hostile and difficult to deal with during and after an emergency.

For example, people with physical disabilities may have reduced ability to get to accessible exits, as well as reduced access to their personal items and emergency supplies.

Dark storm clouds approaching populated beach area.
Dark storm clouds approaching populated beach area.

People with vision and hearing loss and people with speech related disabilities often encounter many more communication barriers, especially when regular communication channels are down or overloaded. These barriers appear at a time when rapid communication may be crucial to survival and safety.

Emergency, or disaster, planning includes preparing organizations and staff to deal with natural and man-made disasters; to support people with disabilities in preparing for a disaster; and to provide education and information to ensure local and statewide emergency officials are fully prepared to address the needs of people with disabilities in case of an emergency. Typically, the needs of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness are unaddressed or plans are not well coordinated, leaving individuals with disabilities unnecessarily vulnerable in an emergency.

The critical needs of individuals with disabilities during an emergency include the evacuation of transit systems, getting to safe shelter in a natural disaster situation, and full access to transportation systems when there is a need to evacuate a particular location. If you or someone close to you has a disability or a special need, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family in an emergency.

Steps for individuals with disability and special needs in case of an emergency:

Preparedness Begins with You

Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance:

Ready.gov has made it simple for you to make a family emergency plan. Download the Family Communication Plan for Parents and Kids (PDF) from https://www.ready.gov/cert and fill out the sections before printing it or emailing it to your family and friends.

Preparation, which includes practice, is the key to success in dealing with a disaster. Preparation is an ongoing process. Keep in mind, the usual means of support and assistance may not be available during an evacuation and after the disaster. Prepare a personal disaster plan with the following in mind:

Disability organizations must join with relief and rescue organizations and the media to educate and inform their constituents of disaster contingency and self-help plans. A universal design approach to meeting the needs of people with disabilities before and after a disaster will benefit many people without disabilities, such as the very young or the aged. A look at existing agreements among relief organizations and local, state, federal, and international governments will offer guidance in developing effective strategies for universal design and implementation plans.

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Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as Twitter and Facebook or learn more about Disabled World on our about us page.

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Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never meant to substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Financial support is derived from advertisements or referral programs, where indicated. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.


Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2022, April 6). Disability Emergency: Disasters, Planning, Climate Change. Disabled World. Retrieved June 30, 2022 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/emergency/

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