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Tips for People with Cognitive/Intellectual Disabilities

This fact sheet is designed to provide a checklist for activities for people with disabilities to improve their emergency preparedness readiness.


Preparation may seem like a lot of work. It is. Preparing does take time and effort. So do a little at a time, as your energy and budget permit. The important thing is to start preparing. The more you do, the more confident you will be that you can protect yourself, your family and your belongings.



Date Completed

Practice what to do during and after a disaster.


Keep a written emergency plan with you.


Give a copy of the plan to personal support network buddies.


Practice how to tell someone about what you need.



Before, During and After a Disaster

  • Practice what to do during and after a disaster. Practice leaving places where you spend time (work, home, school) until you feel comfortable and feel confident that you will know what to do during and after a disaster.


Emergency Plan

  • Keep a written emergency plan with you and in several locations. Make sure your emergency plan is easy to read and understand.
  • After a disaster, information often comes at you quickly. Think through ways to do things you will need to do after a disaster. Small tape recorder, calendar with room for notes and to do lists will help you remember things.
  • Give copies of your written emergency plan to your personal support network buddies.



  • Think through what a rescuer might need to know about you and be prepared to say it briefly, or keep a written copy with you:
    • I cannot read. I communicate using assistance from a communication device. I can point to simple pictures or key words which you will find in my wallet or emergency supply kit.
    • I may have difficulty understanding what you are telling me, please speak slowly and use simple language.
    • I forget easily. Please write down information for me.

Information adapted from Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco and theAmerican Red Cross.

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