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How People with Disabilities Can Prepare for a Disaster

Disability Rights

Learn about preparing for disaster, and the resources available to people with disabilities in the event of disaster.

This article covers what people with disabilities need to know to prepare for a disaster. Learn about how to prepare, who to contact, and what to do when disaster strikes.

How do I prepare for a disaster?

In this video by Disability Rights Texas, you’ll learn what people with disabilities need to know so they can prepare for a disaster or an emergency. This informative video covers what to do before a disaster occurs–like signing up for emergency alerts and assembling an emergency supply kit. The video also covers what to do during and after a disaster. 

See How Do You Prepare for a Disaster? 

What kind of preparations should I make before a disaster strikes?

Before disaster strikes, you should prepare the following emergency information:

  • Emergency Alerts: register for alerts with your local emergency department.
  • Emergency Contacts: prepare a list of emergency contacts, such as family members, friends, and neighbors, in the event you need help during a disaster.
  • Emergency Shelter: try to stay with friends and family if you can. If not, look into accessible shelters in your area. You cannot be turned away at a shelter because of your disability. However, there may be a designated shelter that can better meet your needs.
  • Emergency Kit: prepare a kit including the basics, such as a three-day supply of water, food, and clothing per person as well as first aid supplies, essential documents, medications, cash, and any other essential item you can think of (such as a charger or batteries for your devices).

What should I do about my medical care/assistance while preparing for a disaster?

It is crucial to get in contact with any caregivers to create a plan in the event that your caregiver is not able to join you when disaster strikes.

For medications: contact your insurance provider to see if you are eligible for an extended supply of medications. An extended supply can range from 30 to 90 days. If you have evacuated to another area and your medication runs out, contact your insurance provider to find the nearest pharmacy that accepts your insurance or has an out-of-network option.

What documents should I bring with me in the event of disaster?

Keep a printed or digital copy of any important documents, including: 

  • Your ID;
  • Your Driver's License; and
  • Your Insurance Cards;

How do I prepare for evacuation or transportation in the event of disaster?

Evacuation routes and public pick-up points may be announced before and during a disaster. Contact your local emergency management to verify how this information will be made public. 

It is possible that public and accessible transportation may become unavailable due to the disaster. Call your local metro or public transit to check when transportation stops running. 

How can I prepare to return home after the disaster?

First, check to make sure it’s safe to go home and that water and power are back on before returning. 

Then, you should apply for FEMA assistance to ensure an opportunity to address your housing, job, and other needs.  

What if I feel like I'm being wrongfully denied disaster services?

If you run into problems related to shelters, or you feel you have been wrongfully denied disaster services, contact your state’s protection & advocacy organization (also called the P & A). Disability Rights Texas is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Texas. 

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