Special Needs

People with Disabilities

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People With Disabilities

Did you know that…

  • In Hurricane Katrina, people with disabilities were disproportionately affected by the storm and its aftermath.
  • Many new cell phones and smart phones have an alerting capability that includes specific sounds and vibrations that can be set to signal an emergency for users with a disability.

If you or someone close to you has a disability, whether physical, medical, sensory or cognitive, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family in an emergency.

  • Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends, and coworkers to aid you in an emergency, especially an evacuation. Discuss your needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment.
  • Keep copies of your medical records and physician name and telephone number.
  • If you are mobility impaired and live or work in a high-rise building, have an escape chair.
  • Individuals who may require assistance in evacuations should sign up for emergency alerts and/or special needs registries from counties or townships.
  • Individuals who are vision impaired, deaf or hard of hearing should make sure that they can receive emergency alerts and warnings in an accessible form.
  • If registered for paratransit transportation, inquire about what services the system can or cannot provide during an emergency or evacuation.
  • Keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair or hearing aid batteries, oxygen, medication, etc. Keep a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices you require. Label any equipment/devices you need if evacuated with your name, address, phone or email.
  • Make prior arrangements with your physician or check with your supplier about emergency plans for use of electric powered medical equipment.  Be sure to have electrical back up for any medical equipment. Most shelters will not have generator power; special needs shelters will have limited space available.
  • Have a two week supply of medications, both prescription and non-prescription, and medical products. Be sure to make provisions for medications that require refrigeration.
  • If you have a caregiver, i.e., home health aide, home care nurse, or other paid provider, discuss your personalized evacuation plan with them.  Emergency public shelters do not provide personal health care. If you require the care of a personal attendant and choose to go to a shelter, bring the attendant with you.
  • Maintain a two week supply of items necessary for your service animal.
  • Service animals are allowed in Nassau and Suffolk County emergency shelters. Care of the animal is the responsibility of the owner.


Did you know that…

  • After Hurricane Katrina, it took six months to reunite the last child with her family.

Prepare children for possible disasters by involving them as you develop your family disaster plan.

  • Make sure small children know their full name, parents’ full names, address (including city and state), and phone number (including area code).
  • Teach small children to call 911 in an emergency and explain that this will bring a police officer or firefighter to the emergency.
  • Make sure your children know how to reach you at all times, and be sure that you can reach them.
  • Post emergency numbers by the phone, including your work and cell phone numbers.
  • Find an alternative place your children can go if they cannot reach home, such as a school, library, fire station, or other safe place.
  • Know your children’s school’s emergency plans.
  • Determine where children will stay safe if adults in the household need to shelter in other locations.

If you need to evacuate, remember the unique needs of your family members when making your emergency supply kit. Include

  • Food appropriate for the age of your children – formula, powdered milk, baby food. Child-friendly snacks and other food items your children like.
  • Children need more fluids pound for pound than adults. Pack water, juice, milk, etc.
  • Children’s prescription medication and ensure any non-prescription medication is in children’s dosage.
  • Personal care supplies such as diapers, towelettes, tissues, hand sanitizer and other cleanliness items.
  • Toys, games, books and activities appropriate for a shelter setting. Bring a supply of batteries but also include items that do not require batteries or electricity.
  • Households with infants should plan for food and supplies for infants and nursing mothers.


Did you know that…

  • At age 65, people are twice as likely to be killed or injured by fires compared to the population at large.
  • Approximately 92% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two, which increases their vulnerability in disasters.

In addition to the basic disaster preparedness plans for the general population, seniors should also consider…

  • Neighbors helping neighbors can be critical in an emergency. Make sure neighbors you are close to know if you will have special needs in a disaster or evacuation.
  • If you live in a retirement community, assisted living facility, or adult home, learn about their emergency planning and procedures.
  • Plan two ways out of every room in your home in case of fire. Check for items that could fall and block an escape path. Check hallways, stairwells, doorways, windows and other areas for hazards that may block your path and keep you from safely leaving a building during an emergency.

In addition to the regular emergency supplies, seniors should have

  • A 3-6 day supply of food and water (one gallon per person per day) available.
  • A 3-6 day supply of prescription and non-prescription medications needed.
  • If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation, talk to your service provider about their emergency plans. Work with them to identify back-up service providers within your area and likely evacuation areas.
  • If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity to operate, talk to your health care provider about what you can do to prepare for its use during a power outage.
  • If you require additional travel time or need transportation assistance in evacuating, make these arrangements in advance.
    Sign up for emergency alerts or special needs registries, if available.

If you need to evacuate bring

  • Any adaptive aides needed, such as canes, magnifiers, hearing aides, walkers, etc.
    A copy of the names and numbers for everyone on your emergency contacts list and medical providers
  • A copy of all your current medications and dosage.
    An extra pair of prescription glasses, hearing aids and hearing aid batteries, wheelchair batteries, and oxygen.
  • If you have a caregiver, i.e., home health aide, home care nurse, or other paid provider, discuss your personalized evacuation plan with them.  Emergency public shelters do not provide personal health care. If you require the care of a personal attendant and choose to go to a shelter, bring the attendant with you.
  • Copies of your medical insurance, Medicare and Medicaid cards.

Pledge to be Prepared.

Take the first step in protecting your family - sign the pledge to be prepared for any disaster that might hit Long Island and receive important news and alerts.

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