Hurricane Evacuation Planning for People with Special Needs

Get Informed

Texans with disabilities or special needs are encouraged to prepare for hurricane season and other disasters by planning ahead of time.

  • Review available resources in your community.
  • Identify your capabilities and needs.
  • Make an evacuation plan.
  • Prepare an evacuation supplies kit.

To find out more about programs in your area that may accommodate people with special needs, contact your local emergency management office.

Need a Ride? Dial 2-1-1

If you cannot drive or are unable to make arrangements for transportation in the event of a hurricane evacuation, you may register for assistance by calling 2-1-1.

Officials in your area will use the information in the registry to make sure you receive transportation.

Create a Support System

Creating a support network of family, friends, and service providers increases your chance of having a smooth and successful evacuation.

  • Make a list of family, friends, co- workers, personal attendants, service providers, and others who would be willing to be a part of your evacuation plan.
  • Make sure to choose people from each location where you spend time.
  • Discuss your plan with your support group. Make them aware of what they need to do to assist you.
  • If you receive special services (home health care, dialysis, transportation), share your plan with them. Find out about their emergency plan, and inquire about back-up services.

Make an Emergency Plan

It is essential to create an emergency preparedness and evacuation plan ahead of time, especially for the special needs population since they often depend on others (support groups) to help them with daily tasks.

  • Have a plan for each of the places that you spend time at on a regular basis (home, work, school).
  • Share and discuss your plan with your support group. Let them know what they can do to help you during an evacuation.
  • Decide what type of transportation you will use if asked to evacuate (family, friends, private transportation service, public transportation, 2-1-1).
  • Decide where you will shelter if asked to evacuate (family, friends, public shelter).
  • Consider how a public shelter would meet your needs.

Identify Your Resources

We all depend on certain resources to get us through the day. However, special needs individuals may require more than just the basics. The following checklist can help you determine what resources you cannot live without. Ask yourself:

  • What type of communication devices do I use?
  • What type of transportation do I depend on to get to work, school, appointments, or other places?
  • Do I receive medical treatment? If so, what type (dialysis, glucose testing, insulin)?
  • What types of medication am I taking? Does the medication need to be refrigerated?
  • Do I need assistance with personal care and hygiene?
  • Does my medical equipment depend on electricity to operate properly?
  • Do I use a device to help with mobility, such as a walker, cane, wheelchair, scooter, etc.?
  • Do I have a service animal? What items do I need to care for my animal?

Once you have determined what resources you may need, find ways to access these resources.

Build a kit. You may also contact your local authorities or United Way or Red Cross to find out where a substitute resource may be available.

Communication Plan

Common forms of communication may not be available during an emergency situation. Make sure you have alternate ways to communicate by planning ahead.

  • Supply members of your support group with a list of everyone in the group, along with names of your doctors and other care providers.
  • Make a list of local and out-of-town contacts.
  • Plan on an alternate form of communication in case phone lines are down (assigned meeting place, pagers, e-mail).
  • For individuals who use relay services, there are several options:
    • Dial 711 (nationwide – landline)
    • Captioned telephone (CapTel)
    • Internet-enabled relay service

Download, save or print this resource before a disaster happens!

Hurricane Evacuation Planning for People with Special Needs

Materials adapted for use in Texas by Lisa Norman, Extension Assistant – Emergency Preparedness, Texas AgriLife Extension Service. June 2007. Original content developed by Texas Governor’s Division of Emergency Management. Updated by Josefa Pena, Extension Program Specialist, September 2013.

The one I hope I don’t have to use…” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by Helzer

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