Deaf or Hard of Hearing

  • Extra batteries and a spare charger for hearing aids, cochlear implant and/or personal assistive listening device. Keep records of where you got your hearing aids and exact types of batteries.
  • Consider how to receive emergency information if you are unable to use a TV, radio or computer, such as social media or through your mobile device.
  • Use a NOAA Weather Radio for Deaf and Hard of Hearing that has an adaptive weather alert system.
  • Many new cell phones and smart phones have an alerting capability that includes specific sounds and vibrations that can be set to signal users of an emergency.   Download the FEMA app to receive safety tips and weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the nation, maps of open shelters and disaster recovery centers, information in Spanish and to apply for assistance.
  • Keep a TTY or other analog-based amplified or captioned phone as part of your emergency supply kit.

Blind of Low Vision 

  • Keep Braille/text communication cards, if used, for 2-way communication.
  • Mark emergency supplies with Braille labels or large print.  Keep a list of your emergency supplies on a portable flash drive, or make an audio file that is kept in a safe place where you can access it.
  • Keep a Braille, or Deaf-Blind communications device as part of your emergency supply kit.
  • 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, etc.

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, etc.)
  • Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working, including laminated cards with phrases and/or pictograms

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 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 times.
  • Consider keeping a patch kit or can of sealant for flat tires and/or extra inner tube if wheelchair or scooter is not puncture proof. (from Nusura/CalEMA)
  • Keep an extra mobility device such as a cane or walker, if you use one.
  • 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.

​Service Animals

  • Make plans in advance for your service animal’s health and safety whether you both stay at home, or throughout evacuation.
  • Stock food, water, portable, water dish, potty pads and bags, and medications. Have identification, licenses, leash, harness and a favorite toy for your service animal.
  • Consider paw protection. You may be evacuating over sharp objects such as debris and broken glass.
  • If you go to a public shelter, by law all service dogs and miniature horses (but no other animals) are allowed inside and must be allowed to remain with you in all areas of the shelter. You do not need to show any proof but you may be asked to answer two questions that service animal owners are taught to anticipate. Some shelters will accommodate other service animals. Know what to expect before you need sheltering.
  • Plan for someone else to take care of your service animal if you are not able to following a disaster.​

Behavior Support

  • Plan for children with disabilities and people, 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.

Individuals with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs

How To Make  A Plan & Create A Support Network

How might a disaster affect me? What are my personal needs during a disaster?  By evaluating your own individual needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared.

Here are three easy steps to start your emergency communication plan:

1. Collect information. 

  • Create a paper copy of the contact information including phone, email, and social media info for your family, friends, caregivers, neighbors and other important people/offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, workplace contacts or service providers.
  • Add information for connecting through relay services on a landline phone, mobile device and computer, if  you are Deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use traditional relay services or video relay service (VRS).

2. Share your emergency plans with the trusted people in your support network – tell them:

  • Where your emergency supplies are kept
  • What you need and how to contact you if the power goes out
  • If you will call, email or text agreed upon friends or relatives if you’re unable to contact each other directly
  • What medical devices or assistive technology devices that you need to have with you if there is an evacuation order from local officials
  • Your plans to remain independent if you require oxygen or mechanical ventilation

3. Practice your plan with your support network, just like you would a fire drill.

  • Discuss your needs and/or the needs of a family member; learn about their assistance or services. Advocate including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs into emergency planning in your community.
  • Talk with your employer about your emergency plan, and find out how your employer includes the needs of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.

Build a Kit