Disability is one of the nation’s most important public health issues. Whether dealing with an emergency caused by natural forces or one that is man-made, you may be a person or may encounter persons with some type of disability who will require assistance in such challenging circumstances. Some disabilities, such as those involving physical impairments may be obvious. Other disabilities such as mental illness may be harder to detect. In many cases it’s difficult to determine by appearance alone whether or not a person has a disability. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans has a disability.
It is important that people with disabilities and their families/friends make plans to protect themselves in the event of disasters. Additionally, first responders need to know how to work with people with disabilities to evacuate them safely and quickly. Emergency planners must ensure that shelters are accessible to people with a variety of disabilities.
If you would like more information about how to best assist persons with disabilities, check out these resources: