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Disability & Functional Needs Population Emergency Information

functional needs iconThe information on this page is intended for anyone who may need assistance in taking the individual safety actions described on this website. Whether you have a disability, functional needs, medical condition, or an injury that impacts your mobility, you may need extra assistance in an emergency.

The individual actions described under the types of emergency tabs still apply, but the execution may need to be altered to account for your circumstances. No single policy can cover every emergency condition or cover every individual’s needs. Please consider the following recommendations.

If you are unable to evacuate:

  • ACT—Take steps to protect yourself. Carry an evacuation assistance card to help pass information to first responders.
  • Call 911 if possible and tell them the location to meet you and your need for assistance.
  • Move to a location near an exterior enclosed stairwell, if possible.
  • Assist emergency responders by clearly communicating your needs. Have a person exiting the location notify first responders of your location.
  • Move into the stairway and wait for emergency personnel if doing so doesn’t block evacuation.
  • It is best to be assisted by trained responders. However, ask other evacuees for assistance if the situation warrants immediate action.


Prepare in advance: You may find it helps to let someone in your office, dorm, college, student group, etc. know that in certain situations your actions will need to be adjusted. Some safety needs specific to your circumstances can be considered in advance. This could include but is not limited to:

  • Assistance evacuating
  • Maintaining medical supplies
  • Alternative communication support—including being alerted to an emergency
  • Critical power needs
  • Service animals
  • Medical monitoring
  • Dietary needs and life threatening allergies

University buildings and transportation are ADA compliant and will be used for sheltering and evacuation operations. However, emergencies tend to present unique challenges. When checking in at a shelter, be sure to let someone know of any special needs you might have (i.e. the examples above).

For more tips on personal preparedness, read this FEMA pamphlet.