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Special Needs Disaster Preparation

Dane County Emergency Management is providing information to assist our medically fragile, disabled and special needs citizens to plan for an emergency or disaster that may necessitate having to stay at home for several days, or to evacuate from their home or community.

An emergency or disaster can affect people in many different ways, and for some people it can mean a matter of life and death.

  • Suppose there was a fire in a building and you were on the top floor, in a wheelchair, and the elevators cannot be used. How do you get to safety?
  • Maybe there is an tornado. You may get trapped in debris but are otherwise okay. How do you call for help?
  • Or it could be one of Wisconsin's winter or ice storms with winds or ice that knocks down electrical poles, taking out power at many of our urban areas and rural farms, leaving residents possibly with no heat. What should you do prepare in advance?
  • In the case of a flood, you must evacuate your home for a few days. Did you use the voluntary emergency management registry to be sure rescuers know about you if you live alone or there is no one to help?

The above situations show the importance of planning for special populations.

Have you done what you could to GIVE YOURSELF A BETTER CHANCE?

Due to the uniqueness of planning for those with special needs and disabilities, we have been meeting with citizens, advocates, emergency planners, first responders, community based organizations and caregivers and many others to design a comprehensive and effective plan to accommodate the needs of special populations. But the plan starts with planning ahead on a personal basis.

Preparedness Planning

The best time to prepare for an emergency is well ahead of time. When you prepare from a position of safety and calm, you and your caregivers can better cope with an emergency or disaster situation when it happens. An emergency or disaster may present unique challenges for people with disabilities and special needs. If you or someone you care for has a disability or special need, you may have to take additional steps to prepare yourself and your family.

Here's what you need to get ready for an emergency or disaster:

  1. Form a Personal Support Network: These are the people you should involve in your emergency planning and can help you in an emergency situation. Most importantly, you should not rely on just one person, but have at least three or more people you can call on for help.
  2. Complete a Personal Assessment: Make a list of your personal needs and your resources for meeting support network in a disaster environment. There are checklists available to help you plan. See our links. Or your case manager or disability advocate can assist you.
  3. Be Informed: Know about the specific hazards that threaten your community (winter storms, tornadoes, flooding, etc.), and learn about community warning systems. Dane County citizens with disabilities and special needs should register with the emergency management through our Registry. The Registry can be found in the links provided
  4. The Special Needs Emergency Shelter Program is designed to provide special needs individuals evacuation assistance and care for those without other alternatives, who need transportation assistance, and/or have a health or medical condition that can be managed in the shelter by a personal care worker and some adaptive equipment.

Dane County Emergency Management wants to reach out to all citizens to educate about and assist in emergency and disaster situations. Get involved. And GIVE YOURSELF A BETTER CHANCE!