Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs

People with access and functional needs or disabilities may need to make special considerations when preparing for emergencies. Every individual has specific needs to be addressed before, during, and after disasters.

Build a Kit

In addition to having your basic survival supplies, your emergency kit should contain items to help meet individual needs during an emergency. Consider the items you need on a daily basis and how you could build up extra supplies, substitute other supplies, or function with existing supplies during a disaster.

Tips for People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Tips for People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision

  • Mark emergency supplies with Braille labels or large print.
  • Keep a Braille or Deaf-Blind communications device in your emergency kit.

Tips for People With a Mobility Disability

  • If you use a power wheelchair, have a lightweight manual chair available as a backup if possible. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair in addition to whether or not it is collapsible in case it has to be transported.
  • Show trusted individuals how to operate your wheelchair.
  • Purchase an extra battery for power wheelchairs or other battery-powered medical or assistive technology devices. Keep batteries on a trickle charger.
  • Consider keeping a patch kit or can of sealant for flat tires or an extra inner tube in your emergency supply kit if your wheelchair or scooter is not puncture proof.
  • Keep a backup mobility device such as a cane or walker if you use one.
  • If you use a seat cushion to protect your skin or maintain your balance and you must evacuate without your wheelchair, take your cushion with you.

Additional Kit Items

  • Keep at least week-long supply of any prescription medications on hand. Talk to your healthcare provider about developing an emergency supply. Keep paper and digital copies of prescriptions in a safe place.
  • Create a list of what medications you or a loved one takes, what the medications are for, and the dosage of each medication.
  • Extra eyeglasses, contacts, and hearing-aid batteries.
  • A list of the serial number and style of any assistive devices used. Include special instructions for operating your equipment, if needed.
  • Copies of medical insurance cards and information.
  • Contact information for doctors and your support network.
  • Extra animal preparedness supplies for your service animals.

Make a Plan

  • Create a support network of trusted individuals who can help during an emergency. Keep a contact list in a watertight container in a household emergency kit.
  • You may want to consider giving one or two people in your support network a copy of your house or apartment key and letting them know where you keep your emergency supplies.
  • Plan ahead for accessible transportation, especially in case you need to evacuate or get to a medical facility. King County Access has emergency planning resources for transit needs.
  • If you are dependent on dialysis or other life-sustaining treatment, know the location and availability of more than one facility. Talk to your regular facility about their emergency response plans.
  • If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity, talk to your health care provider about how you can get prepare your equipment for possible power outages.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets.
  • If you have a communication disability, make sure your emergency information notes the best way to communicate with you.
  • If you use an augmentative communications device or other assistive technologies, plan how you will evacuate with the devices and how you will replace them or communicate without them if the equipment is lost or destroyed. This could include laminated cards with phrases, pictures, or pictograms.
  • If you use assistive technology devices, keep model information and note where the equipment came from in your emergency kit.
  • Keep Braille/text communication cards, if used, for 2-way communication.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services online tool helps people locate and access their electronic health records from a variety of resources.
  • Sign up to get benefits electronically, especially if you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits. Federal benefit recipients can sign up by calling 800-333-1795 or online.


City of Kirkland Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Notice
In accordance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), the City of Kirkland will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs, or activities.

King County Access
Access takes you anywhere a Metro bus, Seattle streetcar or Sound Transit light rail goes at that time and on that day of the week.

Disability and Health Emergency Preparedness
Preparedness information from the Centers for Disease Control.

We Prepare Everyday
A video showcasing preparedness considerations for people with access and functional needs.


Emergency Preparedness