Shelter-in-Place - Transportation
In some emergencies, some people or entire communities will need to shelter-in-place. In these situations, the need to transport people to and from their homes will be limited. Nevertheless, people still must be able to move around their shelter-in-place location. Planners should identify these transportation needs before an event.
During some emergencies, people may need to shelter-in-place. This may be at home, in their office, or wherever they happen to be at the time. In other cases, individuals may be able to move to a safe location. Transportation to a shelter-in-place location may be more difficult for those with disabilities. People need to know how to get to their shelter-in-place location, how to stock their location, and how to transport people and goods into and out of that location. Planners should think about transportation needs before, during, and after an event.
Educate the community. People with disabilities may experience problems moving about when they shelter-in-place. When planning, individuals must consider the need to move around. An education program will help people identify their shelter-in-place needs.
- Reach out before an event. This provides the opportunity to identify places to shelter-in-place. It also allows time to identify the items needed in an emergency kit.
- Planners should share the need for those with disabilities to prepare shelter-in-place locations. Equipment necessary to remain mobile in shelter is a must. Stocking food, medical equipment, and medication is also important.
Plan for various locations. Planners should help the public plan shelters in places they regularly spend time. An emergency may happen during school, at work, or at home. Planning should determine the place of shelter based on all disaster scenarios. Shelters should be safe for occupants and accessible to emergency workers who may bring supplies.
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- Planners can work with facilities to use the safest location possible. Inform management of the locations so that they can help occupants know where to go. Management should plan to stock food and medical supplies that may be needed.
- Planners can help facilities secure shelter locations that will be accessible to everyone. People with disabilities and emergency workers will need to get around. Ensure that the site is clear of debris and that there are plenty access points.
- Planners should encourage those with disabilities to keep extra supplies on hand so they can continue day-to-day actions.
It is important to make sure transportation is available during and after a disaster. This includes getting to and from shelter locations.
Educate the public. Planners should instruct the public on how to shelter-in-place. A public awareness campaign on how to shelter-in-place can help educate the public. People must understand transportation limits when planning a way to their shelter. Care providers, advocacy groups, and community members can help point out ways to address special needs.
Include alternative transportation. Traditional emergency vehicles may not be available in every emergency. Those who need wheelchair lifts and ramps may not have access to them. Therefore, it is necessary to include alternate vehicles in disaster plans.
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- Consider non-emergency vehicles
- Door-to-door pick-up may be helpful in places
People will want to return to their normal activities after an emergency. Those with mobility limitations may need help returning home if they have sheltered-in-place somewhere else.
Identify shelter locations. Planners can use geographical and architectural mapping tools to locate shelter-in-place sites. These tools will help planners get to shelter sites and get people out if needed.
Carry extra equipment and supplies. Those who have been sheltered may need extra medical equipment, wheelchairs, and medication. Workers moving people from shelters should have supplies on hand to assist.
Ensure accessibility. A disaster may limit shelter entry and exit. Damaged property or barriers may need to fixed to reach those sheltered. Planners can anticipate these needs ahead of time by:
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- Knowing ADA standards for accessible design. Find more information at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/stdspdf.htm.
- Construction workers and those with disabilities can help find ways to quickly restore access. Pre-planning, partnership building, and educating others about accessibility will help speed the process.
After a disaster, take steps to lessen the impact of future events. The positive and negative outcomes of the event can give important lessons. Review notes, plans, and procedures against their impact to improve future outcomes.Back to Top
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- ADA Standards for Accessible Design, U.S. Department of Justice
This document sets guidelines for accessibility to places of public accommodation and commercial facilities by individuals with disabilities. These guidelines are to be applied during the design, construction, and alteration of such buildings and facilities to the extent required by regulations issued by Federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Access this document at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/stdspdf.htm
- Assisting People with Disabilities in A Disaster, FEMA
This website provides general tips for neighbors of and people working with people with disabilities on how to help individuals with disabilities. It provides tips for helping those with visual impairments, people with hearing impairments, people with mobility impairments, single working parents, those with limited English proficiency, people without vehicles, people with special dietary needs, people with medical conditions, people with mental retardation, and people with dementia.
Access this document at http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/specialplans.shtm
- Disaster Planning for Elderly and Disabled Populations, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
This is a chapter within the IFAS Disaster Handbook for Extension Agents. This source provides general information and concerns on many subjects. Local and State Emergency Planners are given tips that can help identify, access, warn, evacuate, and shelter people with disabilities. This also provides a rationale for action and a list of important questions.
Access this document at http://disaster.ifas.ufl.edu/PDFS/CHAP02/D02-09.pdf (PDF - 288 KB)
- Disaster Preparedness—Reasoning WHY Physical, Emotional and Financial Preparation for Disabled Citizens, How Eliminating Limited Perceptions Unifies Us (HELPU Fire and Life Safety)
This discusses the reasoning for disaster preparedness by people with disabilities. It includes information on physical, emotional, and financial preparations.
Access this document at http://www.helpusafety.org/3PREPSDI.pdf (PDF - 1,000 KB)
- Emergency Tip Sheets for People with Disabilities, Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco
The 10 sheets offer tips for people with: cognitive disabilities, communication disabilities, disabilities and medical concerns, environmental or chemical sensitivities, hearing impairments, life-support systems, mobility concerns, psychiatric disabilities, visual disabilities, and service animals or pets. The sheets lists information by category on what people can do before, during and after disasters. The document also includes a checklist for individuals to use to prepare themselves.
Access this document at http://www.prepare.org/disabilities/disabilities.htm
- Incorporating Special Needs Populations into Emergency Planning and Exercises
This study provides case studies of exercises in New York City and the Pentagon. Specifically, through exercises, cities learned that existing plans did not address decontamination of supportive equipment and guide animals. The study also provides a series of questions to ensure greater inclusion of individuals with disabilities in emergency plans.
Access this document at http://www.nobodyleftbehind2.org/findings/davis_mincin.shtml
- Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs, FEMA
This booklet is designed to help those with special needs, as well as their family/friends/caretakers, prepare for various emergencies. The booklet includes check-lists of items, strategies, potential problem areas, and solutions to consider.
Access this document at http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/pfd_all.pdf (PDF - 731 KB)
- Preparing for Emergencies: A Checklist for People with Mobility Problems, FEMA
This checklist will help people with mobility problems start preparing an emergency plan. Included is a listing of a suggested disaster supplies kit, as well as information on an escape plan, a home hazard hunt, evacuation, and fire safety.
Access this document at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Content/homelandsecurity/preparedness/mobilitychecklist.pdf (PDF - 124 KB)
- The Emergency Preparedness Initiative Guide for Emergency Managers, Planners & Responders: Revised Edition, National Organization on Disability
This guide summarizes case studies and issues for Local and State Emergency Planners. This lists ideas on how to partner with and involve those with disabilities. This also provides research tools for people to use during preparation for an emergency. The document emphasizes that planners must recognize, engage, and communicate with special needs populations in order to better serve them.
Access this document at http://www.nod.org/resources/PDFs/epiguide2005.pdf (PDF - 165 KB)
- The U.S. Census, U.S. Census Bureau
This is a collection of data on a wide assortment of subjects. The agency gathers information using many different types of surveys, and the results are printed on the website. These results are displayed using tables, maps, graphs, and other visual aids. This can be used as a general assessment tool for the number of individuals in a given community that have disabilities.
Access this document at http://www.census.gov