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Ready DC
Ready DC

People with Disabilities​

It’s important to remember that while each person’s needs may differ, everyone can take steps to prepare for various types of emergencies.  

Emergency Checklist for People with Disabilities and Access and Functional Needs

  • See a A Path to Preparedness Guide for a downloadable workbook to guide you in your preparedness and safety planning. 
  • Keep your important papers together (insurance cards, Medicare or Medicaid card.)  
  • Wear your medical alert tag or bracelet.  
  • Keep a list of any allergies or chemical or environmental sensitivities you have. 
  • If you are dependent on electricity, enroll in Pepco’s Emergency Medical Equipment Notification Program. Call 202-833-7500 for additional information. 


Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing:

  • Keep extra batteries and a spare charger for hearing aids, cochlear implants and/or other personal assistive listening devices. Keep records of where you got your hearing aids including model numbers and exact types of batteries.
  • Know how to receive emergency information if you are unable to use a TV, radio or computer, such as social media or through your mobile device.
  • Keep records of where you got your hearing devices and include model numbers and battery types needed. 
  • Stay Informed through local radio, television, or official social media accounts. Download the free HSEMA app or AlertDC to receive updates.  

Person​s who are Blind or have Low Vision:

  • Keep Braille/text communication cards, if used, for 2-way communication.
  • Mark emergency supplies with Braille labels or large print.  Keep a list of your emergency supplies on a portable flash drive, or make an audio file that is kept in a safe place where you can access it.
  • Keep a Braille or Deaf-Blind communications device as part of your emergency supply kit.

Persons with Speech Disability:

  • Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working. Keep model information, where the equipment came from, and power sources needed to function the equipment in your emergency kit.  
  • Consider using laminated cards with phrases and/or pictogram to communicate. 

Persons with Mobility Disability:

  • If you use a power wheelchair, if possible, have a lightweight manual chair available as a backup. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be transported.
  • Purchase an extra battery for a power wheelchair or other battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices.  
  • Keep records about the size and weight of your wheelchair, in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in your emergency kit. This will help individuals assist you in an emergency! 
  • If you are unable to purchase an extra battery, find out what agencies, organizations or local charitable groups can help you with the purchase.  
  • Keep an extra mobility device such as a cane or walker, if you use one. 
  • If you use a seat cushion to protect your skin or maintain your balance, and you must evacuate without your wheelchair, take your cushion with you. 

Persons who need Behavior Support:

  • Keep handheld electronic devices preloaded with movies and games (and spare batteries/chargers) 
  • Pack headphones to decrease auditory distractions 
  • Pack comfort snacks and toys. 

When making an Emergency Plan for Households with Service Animals:

  • Make plans in advance for your service animal’s health and safety whether you both stay at home, or proceed with evacuation (See: Plan for Pets).
  • Make plans for your service animal’s health and safety - Stock food, water, portable water dish, potty pads and waste bags, and medications.  
  • Have identification, licenses, health/vaccination records, leash, harness and a favorite toy. 
  • See pet preparedness and safety tips for additional information. 
  • If you go to a public shelter, by law, all service dogs are allowed inside. You do not need to show any proof, but you may be asked to answer two questions that service animal owners are taught to anticipate.  
  • Have a plan for someone to take care of your service animal in the event that you are unable to do so. 

Build A Kit for People with Disabilities

In addition to the General Emergency Kit, you should also prepare:

  • At least a week-long supply of prescription medicines, along with a list of all medications, dosages, and any allergies
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries
  • Extra wheelchair batteries and/or oxygen
  • A list of the style and serial number of any medical devices. Include special instructions for operating your equipment if needed
  • Copies of medical insurance and Medicare cards
  • Contact information for doctors, specialists, relatives or friends who should be notified if you are hurt