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Safety: Accessible Egress/Evacuation/Fire/Disaster Preparedness

Be sure to visit Safety Guides for more information on how to prepare for accessible egress, evacuation, and assistance in a disaster.
State Listings:   CA / VA    (Official USPS State Abbreviations)


Access Board Resources on Emergency Evacuation and Disaster Preparedness specifies the required number of accessible means of egress required in the design of accessible routes and provides the technical criteria. Emergency warning systems to alert people with hearing impairments are also covered. Specifications for fire-rated spaces where persons unable to use stairs can await evacuation assistance are also required.

American Red Cross has developed a comprehensive guide entitled Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs. This guide, provided on their website free of charge, has been written to assist those with physical, visual, auditory, or cognitive disabilities prepare for natural disasters and their consequences. It provides assessment exercises, checklists and tips on how to establish a support network. The American Red Cross will send an Education Services representative to your organization to speak to anyone free of charge about emergency and disaster preparedness. They also publish several pamphlets on Preparing for Emergencies, A Checklist for People with Mobility Problems, and Family Disaster or Emergency Preparedness. Contact your local American Red Cross office by visiting their website and typing in your zip code.

Disability.gov: Emergency Preparedness includes comprehensive information on emergency preparedness, response, and recovery plans that take into account the needs of people with disabilities, as well as practical tips on how individuals, schools, and places of business can prepare for emergencies.

Disaster Preparedness Resources for People with Disabilities provides resources on earthquake, fire, and disaster preparedness resources, barrier removal and evacuation procedures.

Easter Seals Evacuation Planning Support created a national public education campaign, S.A.F.E.T.Y. first: Working Together for Safer Communities as a response to their growing national concern for personal safety. It's a set of key questions, resources and an excerpt from BOMA's, Are Your Tenant's Safe? that gives everyone a place to start. Their emphasis is on learning from specific solutions of people with disabilities and other special needs. Using the S.A.F.E.T.Y. first kit as a guide, the first step is for businesses to work directly with employees that have disabilities and special needs to develop a personal evacuation plan. As individual needs will vary, people with disabilities are best suited to identify their specific evacuation needs. Once identified, those needs can be integrated into existing evacuation plans likely providing new insights and essential changes to existing plans. For more information on the S.A.F.E.T.Y. first kit, check out this website.

New Sign Family Guide on Emergency Preparedness, developed as part of the My Safety, My Responsibility, My Plan project at Westchester Institute for Human Development, offers tools and information to help families of individuals with disabilities develop evacuation plans. The Guide provides a supplies checklist for the home and on-the-go, a "to do" checklist for family members, and blank, fillable forms to document the emergency plan, health information, daily living/mobility needs, communication/emotional needs, and a grid to draw and detail a home escape plan.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides preparedness information Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs. See also Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information for People with Disabilities . Also visit Office of Disability Integration and Coordination for community planning in emergency management.

Fire Safety for Wheelchair Users at Work and at Home is a brief pamphlet, developed by United Spinal Association, that provides guidance on addressing the evacuation needs of people with mobility disabilities. This pamphlet is useful for employers, employees and citizens with disabilities alike.

Harris Family Center for Disability and Health Policy has written, and made available via their website, the Emergency Evacuation Preparedness Guide. This guide features an ability self-assessment and lists emergency evacuation options for people with disabilities.

Inclusive Preparedness Center is focused on helping ensure that all individuals are included in the development of and inclusion in plans for protection from both natural and man-made emergencies. In almost all cases, emergency planning, including evacuations and sheltering during natural disasters, attacks of terrorism, industrial and highway accidents has not taken into consideration the communication, transportation and medical needs of persons with disabilities, and other special populations. This center provides training and other resources to help local emergency organizations plan for individuals who need specialized communications, transportation and medical supports in emergency situations.

New Sign June Isaacson Kailes- Disability Policy Consultant This is a very comprehensive website on emergency preparation and policies for preparedness and evacuation. It includes an extensive library of publications on emergency issues related to people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.

National Fire Protection Association provides fire safety and evacuation planning. Contact the NFPA at Education@nfpa.org

Nobody Left Behind - Disaster Preparedness for Persons with Mobility Impairments The resources listed are an excellent way to get acquainted with or increase your depth of knowledge of disaster preparedness and assistance for persons with disabilities. These items were compiled to compliment the work of personnel in the health, emergency management, response, disaster relief or disabilities fields.

Ready.gov: Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Special Needs: Get Ready Now is a brief disaster preparedness guide tailored to people with disabilities. The brochure offers tips on preparing an emergency kit and discusses how to create a support network, how to develop a family communication plan, and what to consider and how to prepare for evacuation.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers questions and answers to assist employers who are developing or reevaluating emergency evacuation procedures. This will assist employers on requesting medical information as part of emergency evacuation procedures.

U.S. Fire Administration provides fire safety and evacuation planning.

New Sign U.S. Department of Transportation - Departmental Office of Civil Rights: Departmental Guidelines on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities

State Listings


New Sign American Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region: Prepare for Emergency or Disaster Be Prepared. Get a Kit. Make a Plan, Be Informed. Get Connected. Take Action.

Los Angeles City Fire Department offers fire safety education and earthquake safety programs for individuals with disabilities. The courses can be anywhere from one to four hours long depending on the group's needs. For more information about the programs, call (818) 756-9672.


New Sign Fairfax County, Virginia, Emergency Preparedness Information, Access & Functional Needs: Disabilities provides information on the additional needs that may be required before, during and after an emergency or disaster. Includes a Special Needs Registry for Fairfax County and Preparing Tips for People with Disabilities. For more information, visit this website.


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[Updated November 30, 2018]
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