Make Your Plan: Emergency Preparedness

Natural disasters and emergency situations can occur at any time. It is crucial to prepare ahead of time for emergencies to ensure you and your family can remain safe, healthy, and informed of available help.  The following information includes resources for people with disabilities during emergency situations. We have also included information on how to best prepare yourself for a disaster.

Preparing for an Emergency

Emergency Supply Kits
After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. The national website for emergency preparedness offers a complete checklist of what to include in an emergency supply kit.

Preparing for a Winter Storms
During extremely cold weather or winter storms, staying warm and safe can be a challenge. Winter storms can bring cold temperatures, power failures, loss of communication services, and icy roads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have put together multiple webpages on how to prepare for a winter storm and stay safe during one. 

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can occur at any time, disrupting everyday life and access to resources. The CDC has created a website dedicating to helping you and your family learn more about and prepare for natural disasters.

Texas Resources

Are We Truly Prepared for Emergencies?
CDD Executive Director Dr. Beth Stalvey and FEMA Region 6 Disability Integration Advisor Dr. Christin Bradley co-authored an article on emergency preparedness considerations for the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration.

Winter Weather Resources
The Governor’s Office has put together a list of winter weather resources, which continues to be updated. The list includes information about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance, state warming centers, insurance assistance, and how you can get involved to help Texans in need.

Explore Disability Rights Texas’ Winter Storm Recovery Resource page.

Natural Disasters
The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies operates a disaster hotline, which you can contact any time at 1-800-626-4959.

Visit the TDEM website and select your region and county to find local information on where to find potable water, warming centers, and shelters.

Search Texas A&M University’s Directory of Community Resources for People with Disabilities to find resources and organizations by category and location, developed as part of Project REDD (Research and Education on Disability and Disaster).

On March 24, 2021, the FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination and our partners held a stakeholder event to learn about National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and the importance of including people with developmental disabilities in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. The agenda, speaker presentations, and related resources on the topic are now available.

Access ASL videos that provide information on the FEMA registration process:

TCDD supports the position that people with disabilities deserve respectful, prompt and efficient assistance during “shelter in place,” evacuation, and relocation resulting from a natural disaster or emergency event. Individuals must have access to appropriate and accessible transportation, shelter, medical and mental health care, and information on temporary support services. To achieve this, people with disabilities and their families, state agencies, first responders, relief workers, and local and state government must work together to create emergency preparedness systems and plans that are responsive to people with disabilities’ needs and stated preferences.

There also must be a priority for people with disabilities and their families, creating individual emergency preparedness plans. TCDD supports the position that people with disabilities and their families must be involved in planning and implementing first responder and relief worker trainings that address the needs of people with disabilities in an emergency event, including accessible transportation; adherence to an individual’s existing emergency preparedness plan; and the importance of keeping families and other support networks, including service animals, together throughout the evacuation and relocation processes. TCDD supports the following principles as integral to the health and safety of people with developmental disabilities during an emergency event:

  • Individuals and families create, review, and revise as necessary (at least annually) individual emergency preparedness plans, to include “shelter in place” plans, with support from long-term services and supports programs when appropriate;
  • Confidentiality of personal and medical information included in an individual’s emergency preparedness plan or provided to any registry system or service provider;
  • Participation of people with disabilities and families in developing local, regional, and state emergency preparedness plans, to include “shelter in place” plans, that are responsive to the needs and preferences of people with disabilities;
  • Participation of people with disabilities and their families in developing trainings for first responders and relief workers on the needs of people with all disabilities during and after an emergency event, including information on invisible disabilities, self-determination, and preserving support networks; and
  • Information on emergency preparedness and preparedness planning activities and resources must be available to everyone in plain language in a format that meets established accessibility standards for people with disabilities.

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