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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Planning for Special Medical Needs

If you, a loved one, or members of a community that you serve have special medical needs, then your emergency plan needs a few extra steps. Below are resources to help you plan more effectively to keep people with special medical needs safe before, during and after a disaster.

  • Plan and Prepare for Emergencies:Exit Icon   FEMA and the American Red Cross outline additional steps that people with access and functional needs, such as disabilities, should consider when planning for an emergency.
  • Learn about Planning Considerations for Caregivers:  This webinar provides information for those who assist family caregivers in planning for emergencies and disasters. It includes guidance and examples for informing family caregivers on keeping themselves and their loved ones safe in a disaster or emergency by developing personal preparedness plans.
  • Prepare to Shelter in Place or Evacuate:  If a disaster strikes, you may need to shelter in place or be forced to evacuate. This guide gives individuals and families a starting point to help them prepare to shelter in place or evacuate in case of a disaster.
  • Learn about Special Considerations for Dialysis Dependent Patients:Exit Icon  If you rely on dialysis to stay healthy, make sure that you have learned about alternate care facilities, additions to your emergency kit, as well as other considerations that can reduce the risks during an emergency.
  • Plan for Power Outages:  If you rely on electrically powered equipment to help you stay healthy, put a few extra steps in your emergency plan.  Be sure that you have extra batteries for your device and that you know how to charge it.  Learn about additional ways that you can prepare for and stay safe if a blackout happens in your area. 
  • Learn about Personal Assistance Services to General Population Shelter:  Personal Assistance Services (PAS) are formal and informal services provided by paid personal attendants, friends, family members, and/or volunteers that enable children and adults with access and functional needs to maintain their independence.  Following a disaster, at-risk individuals with access and functional needs may require PAS in order to maintain their independence in a general population shelter. Learn how you may be able to use these services in an emergency. 
  • Plan as a Community for Power Outages with the HHS emPOWER Map:  The HHS emPOWER Map is an interactive online tool to help community health agencies and emergency management officials in disaster preparedness as they plan ahead to meet the emergency needs of community residents who rely on electrically powered medical and assistive equipment to live independently at home. The integrated data accessible through the HHS emPOWER Map can help community organizations, including hospitals, first responders, and electric utility officials, work with health officials to prevent health impacts of prolonged power outages due to storms and other disasters on vulnerable residents.

  • This page last reviewed: April 18, 2017