One of the most important roles of local government is to protect their citizenry from harm, including helping people prepare for and respond to emergencies.
Many traditional emergency notification methods are not accessible to or usable by people with disabilities.
Provide ways to inform people who are deaf or hard of hearing of an impending disaster if you use emergency warning systems such as sirens or other audible alerts. Survey your community’s shelters for barriers to access for persons with disabilities. Until all of your emergency shelters have accessible parking, exterior routes, entrances, interior routes to the shelter area, and toilet rooms serving the shelter area; you should identify and widely publicize to the public, including persons with disabilities and the organizations that serve them, the locations of the most accessible emergency shelters.
Ensure that a reasonable number of emergency shelters have back-up generators and a way to keep medications refrigerated (such as a refrigerator or a cooler with ice). People who are deaf or hard of hearing may not have access to audible information routinely made available to people in the temporary shelters.
66 Shelters You Can Make From A Tarp – SHTF, Emergency Preparedness, Survival Prepping, Homesteading is creative inspiration for us. Making local government emergency preparedness and response programs accessible to people with disabilities is a critical part of this responsibility. If you are unable to do so, consider another nearby facility for your community sheltering needs.
They should ordinarily be allowed to attend the same shelters as their neighbors and coworkers.
If you are responsible for your community’s emergency planning or response activities, you should involve people with disabilities in identifying needs and evaluating effective emergency management practices.


Also, you should consider using open-captioning on local TV stations in addition to incorporating other innovative uses of technology into such procedures, as well as lower-tech options such as dispatching qualified sign language interpreters to assist in broadcasting emergency information provided to the media. Shelter staff and volunteers are often trained in first aid or other areas critical to the delivery of emergency services, but many have little, if any, familiarity with the needs of people with disabilities.
The needs of individuals with disabilities should be considered, too, when they leave a shelter or are otherwise allowed to return to their home. For instance, if you are considering incorporating a particular high school gymnasium into your sheltering plan, early in the process you should examine its parking, the path to the gymnasium, and the toilets serving the gymnasium to make sure they are accessible to people with disabilities.
Individuals using a wheelchair or scooter have often been able somehow to get to the shelter, only to find no accessible entrance, accessible toilet, or accessible shelter area. In planning for emergency services, you should consider the needs of people who use mobility aids such as wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes or crutches, or people who have limited stamina. Individuals with disabilities will face a variety of challenges in evacuating, depending on the nature of the emergency. Invite representatives of group homes and other people with disabilities to meet with you as part of your routine shelter planning. Many local governments provide emergency services through contracts with other local governments or private relief organizations. Discuss with them which shelters they would be more likely to use in the event of an emergency and what, if any, disability-related concerns they may have while sheltering. Identify accessible modes of transportation that may be available to help evacuate people with disabilities during an emergency. Adopt procedures to ensure that people with disabilities who use service animals are not separated from their service animals when sheltering during an emergency, even if pets are normally prohibited in shelters.


Make sure that contracts for emergency services require providers to follow appropriate steps outlined in this document.
When people with disabilities who use service animals are told that their animals cannot enter the shelter, they are forced to choose between safety and abandoning a highly trained animal that accompanies them everywhere and allows them to function independently.
Individuals whose disabilities require medications, such as certain types of insulin that require constant refrigeration, may find that many shelters do not provide refrigerators or ice-packed coolers.
Individuals who use life support systems and other devices rely on electricity to function and stay alive and, in many cases, may not have access to a generator or other source of electricity within a shelter.
These shelters should be made available on a priority basis to people whose disabilities require access to electricity and refrigeration, for example, for using life-sustaining medical devices, providing power to motorized wheelchairs, and preserving certain medications, such as insulin, that require refrigeration. These entities may not fully understand the role they need to play in meeting your obligation to provide accessible emergency services. Historically, great attention has been paid to ensuring that those shelters are well stocked with basic necessities such as food, water, and blankets.
In case temporary housing is needed past the stay at the shelter, your emergency response plan could identify available physically accessible short-term housing, as well as housing with appropriate communication devices, such as TTY’s, to ensure individuals with communication disabilities can communicate with family, friends, and medical professionals. Provide training to contractors so that they understand how best to coordinate their activities with your overall accessibility plan for emergency services.



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