Disabled / Special Need Persons

Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away. Take responsibility-Save your life! Keep in touch with your neighbors and look out for each other.

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.

  • Set up a Personal Support network - Designate someone to check on you in an emergency and to help with evacuation or sheltering-in-place.
  • Make sure that someone in your local network has an extra key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies.
  • Personal Care Assistance - If you receive assistance from a home health care agency or in-home support provider, find out how the provider will respond in an emergency. Designate backup or alternative providers that you can contact in an emergency.
  • Teach those who may need to assist you in an emergency how to operate necessary equipment.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to help identify any medical condition or disability.
  • Consider getting a medical alert system that will allow you to call for help if you are immobilized in an emergency.
  • If you have a communication disability, make sure your emergency information notes the best way to communicate with you.
  • For persons using a wheelchair, plan for how you will evacuate in an emergency and discuss it with your care providers. If you use a motorized wheelchair, have a manual wheelchair as a backup.
  • For persons who are blind or visually impaired, keep an extra collapsible cane by your bed. Attach a whistle to the cane; use it if you need to attract attention. Exercise caution when moving around after an earthquake; items may fall and block paths that are normally unobstructed.
  • For Persons who are Hearing Impaired: Keep extra batteries for your hearing aids with emergency supplies. Consider storing your hearing aids in a container attached to your nightstand or bedpost, so you can locate them quickly after a disaster.
  • Keep in mind a disaster can disrupt mail service for days or even weeks. Consider direct deposit by calling the Go Direct toll-free helpline at 800-333-1795 or sign up at Go Direct. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks, this option will ensure you get your social security or SSI payment on time each month.
  • If you would like to let Emergency Responders know about a disability or other condition you can:
    • Complete the Community Survey Form (PDF). The Disabled Person Registration Program consists of the Fire Department developing a listing of disabled persons residing within the City. The information would be confidential and accessible only to Police, Fire, and Emergency Dispatch personnel. This would allow emergency responders to be alerted that a disabled person resides there.
    • Pick up a Vial of Life kit from any fire station. Vial of Life participants complete a Medical Information Form, which is then put into a small medical vial. A "Vial of Life" label is attached to the vial which is then placed on the top shelf of the participant's refrigerator. A second "Vial of Life" label is placed on the upper outside of the refrigerator in plain view. The sticker notifies emergency responders that you have the Vial-of-Life so they can utilize its information and be informed about your special needs or medications you take.
  • Don't forget to include any medications you need to take in your go-bag.
  • Consider other personal needs such as eyeglasses, hearing aids and hearing aid batteries, wheelchair batteries, and oxygen.