Definitions and Key Concepts
According to the NRP Working Group, before, during and after an incident members of this population may have additional needs in one or more of the following functional areas:
Individuals in need of additional response assistance may include those who:
Individuals within the above mentioned populations are most often classified under the "special needs" umbrella. Members of these populations often have specific disaster-related needs requiring additional assistance or capabilities. This definitional framework is a function based approach to addressing the issues and needs presented by members of the special needs populations. It allows planners to plan for a predictable and specific set of functional support needs and establishes parameters for resource allocation. Notably this definition satisfies a key recommendation from the DHS Nationwide Plan Review calling on the federal government to develop a consistent definition of the term 'special needs'.
This approach establishes a flexible framework that addresses a broad set of common function-based needs irrespective of specific diagnosis, statuses, or labels (e.g., children, the elderly, transportation disadvantaged). For example:
Inclusion and Access: No one should be left behind in emergency and disaster prevention (mitigation), preparedness, response, and recovery, whether an event is natural or manmade. The emergency management framework must be inclusive of all populations regardless of needs.
Effective Communication: At-risk individuals with functional limitations must be given the same information provided to the general population using a method that is understandable and timely.
Equal Access: At-risk individuals with functional limitations must be able to benefit from emergency programs equally with the general population through accessible means.
Equal Opportunity: At-risk individuals with functional limitations must have the same opportunities to benefit from emergency programs, services, and activities as people without functional limitations.
Inclusion: At-risk individuals with functional limitations have the right to participate in all emergency programs, services, and activities provided by governments, private businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
Integration: At-risk individuals with functional limitations must be provided services in the most integrated setting.
No Charge: At-risk individuals with functional limitations may not be charged to cover the costs of measures necessary to ensure nondiscriminatory treatment.
No "One Size Fits All": At-risk individuals with functional limitations do not all require the same assistance and do not all have the same needs.
Physical Access: At-risk individuals with functional limitations must be able to access locations where emergency programs and services are provided.
Program Modifications: At-risk individuals with functional limitations must have equal access to emergency programs and services, which may entail modifications to rules, policies, practices, and procedures.
Self-Determination: At-risk individuals with functional limitations are the most knowledgeable about their own needs.
Service/Assistance Animal: Both service animals and assistance animals should be included.Back to Top