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emergency Preparedness office

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Seniors and People with Special Needs

Seniors and people with disabilities have their own special needs during emergencies and disasters. While each person's abilities and requirements are unique, important steps can be taken to prepare for emergencies before they happen.

Before an emergency or disaster, seniors and people with special needs, along with their caregiver, should assess their physical limitations and coordinate a plan for assistance, including:

  • Making a list of all doctors and emergency contacts.
  • Contacting a relative or friendly neighbor in advance and letting them know you will need assistance in an emergency.
  • Making sure that someone you trust has an extra key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies.
  • Keeping a list of prescription medications, including dosage and any allergies, in your wallet.
  • Keeping an extra pair of eyeglasses and extra hearing-aid batteries.
  • Keeping a list of the style and serial numbers of medical devices such as pacemakers, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, etc.
  • Labeling all medical devices, such as those listed above, with your name and address.
  • Keeping extra wheelchair batteries as well as a lightweight, manual wheelchair.
  • Supplies for your service animal.

During an emergency:

  • Monitor local area radio or television stations (along with their websites) for the latest information.
  • Make sure you are wearing any medical alert tags or bracelets to help identify your disability.
  • Be prepared to evacuate on a moment's notice. If possible, leave a note in an accessible area, indicating when you left and where you are going.
  • Make sure you have an emergency kit, complete with medications, copies of prescriptions and medical supplies.
  • Locate nearby shelters, including ones that take service animals/pets.
  • Prepare to bring supplies for your service animal or pet.
  • Arrange to stay with family or friends outside the threatened area.
  • People dependent on dialysis or other life sustaining treatment should know the location and availability of at least two nearby facilities.
  • Keep copies of medical insurance and Medicare cards in at least two places – one in your wallet and one in another location.


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