With climate change, the likelihood of a natural disaster has grown. In recent years, Massachusetts has experienced tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, blizzards and a terrorist attack. Many of these disasters are accompanied by extensive power outages and the shutting down of public transportation. It makes sense for everyone, especially people with disabilities who rely on specific services and medical supports, to be prepared. Many recommendations are common sense while some may be things you have not considered. Read the resources below, and make a Plan A. Once that is complete, make a Plan B.
In case of an emergency, your local public safety agencies should know about any special needs. Below is a link to the state’s Disability Indicator Program form that you can complete about individual needs which gets included into the state 911 emergency system. When a 911 call comes from your phone, the responding emergency agency will have some useful background info. Complete the form and send it the 911 Municipal Coordinator in your town (often the Police Dept).
Disability Indicator Program
If you have a disability and landline telephone service, you may qualify to have a unique code appear during 911 calls to indicate to emergency services that you may require special assistance.
Anyone who has life-dependent power needs or other daily requirements for medical care or services should register now at their Town Hall with the Civil Defense Emergency Preparedness staff.
Table of Contents
National Orgs and Resources
Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA
Individuals with Access and Functional Needs
American Red Cross
Plan and Prepare
For People with Disabilities
Find Open Shelters
Center for Disease Control
Emergency Preparedness and Response
Massachusetts Emergency Service Programs
Integrated community-based behavioral health crisis assessment, intervention, and stabilization services that promote resiliency, rehabilitation, and recovery
MA Emergency Management Agency – MEMA
MEMA – Be Prepared
A Resource Guide for Local Emergency Management Agencies and Planners in Massachusetts
Preparation for People with Access and Functional Needs
from MA EOHHS
Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs
by FEMA and the Red Cross
‘Ready to Roll’ Initiative to Improve Disaster Preparedness for Wheelchair Users
by United Spinal Association
Bedside Emergency Supply Kit Checklist
from the ADA National Network
Tips about Medical Devices
Prepare for Power Outages with Medical Devices
ICE Your Phone
Add emergency contact numbers of friends and family to your cell phone by putting the word “ICE” in front of them. ICE stands for “In Case of Emergency” and responders will look for it. If you don’t have a cell phone, write the numbers down and store them in a safe place.
PDF Brochures from the National Organization on Disability
- Disaster Readiness Tips for People with Disabilities
- Disaster Readiness Tips for People with Developmental or Cognitive Disabilities
- Disaster Readiness Tips for People with Mobility Disabilities
- Disaster Readiness Tips for People with Sensory Disabilities
- Disasters Readiness Tips for Owners of Pets or Service Animals