Resources & Tools

AARP- We can do better: Lessons Learned for Protecting Older Persons in Disasters

This document includes highlights from an AARP conference with stakeholders discussing strategies to better protect older persons in both the community and in nursing homes during an emergency. It addresses planning and communication, identifying who will need help, and evacuating older persons.   

ADA- Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments

The ADA Tool Kit is designed to teach state and local government officials how to identify and fix problems that prevent people with disabilities from gaining equal access to state and local government programs, services, and activities. It will also teach state and local officials how to conduct accessibility surveys of their buildings and facilities to identify and remove architectural barriers to access.  


Alzheimer’s Association- Disaster Preparedness: Home and Community-based Services for People with Dementia and Their Caregivers

This toolkit outlines actions states can take to empower caregivers to make informed decisions about the special needs of people with dementia at a time of emergency or disaster. 


CDC- Planning for an Emergency: Strategies for Identifying and Engaging At-Risk Groups

This guidance document provides emergency managers  with information on how to identify socially vulnerable or at-risk groups within their communities. These groups are disproportionately affected by disasters. The information in this document can help you better prepare and respond to the needs of these groups before, during, and after a disaster. This document focuses on two approaches to accomplishing this task, the individual approach and population approach.


CDC- Public Health Workbook and eTool: To Define, Locate, and Reach Special, Vulnerable, and At-risk Populations in an Emergency

This document describes a process that will help planners to define, locate, and reach at-risk populations in an emergency. Additional tools are included to provide resources for more inclusive communication planning that will offer time-saving assistance for state, local, tribal, and territorial public health and emergency management planners in their efforts to reach at-risk populations in day-to-day communication and during emergency situations. The At-risk Populations eTool is a companion to the At-risk Populations Workbook to assist in creating a Community Outreach Information Network (COIN) to reach at-risk populations in an emergency.


Department of Justice: Tips and tools for Reaching Limited English Proficiency communities in Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

This document is geared toward state and local decision-makers, planners, and language access coordinators at agencies responsible for emergency preparation, response, and recovery. It provides a non-exhaustive compilation of tips and promising practices intended to serve as a starting point for incorporating language access considerations into disaster management plans.

 FEMA- Guidance on Planning for Integration of Functional Needs Support Services in General Population Shelters

This document provides guidance to assist emergency managers and shelter planners in understanding the requirements related to sheltering children and adults with functional support needs in general population shelters. Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) and the guidance provided are designed to assist in the planning and resourcing of sheltering operations whether government, NGO, faith- or private-based to meet the access and functional needs of children and adults. 


Over 2.4 million Medicare beneficiaries rely upon electricity-dependent medical and assistive equipment, such as ventilators and wheel chairs, in our communities. Severe weather and disasters that cause power outages can be life threatening for these individuals. Every hospital, first responder, electric company, and community member can use this map to find the monthly total of Medicare beneficiaries with electricity-dependent equipment claims at the U.S. state, territory, county, and zip code level and turn on “real-time” NOAA severe weather tracking services to identify areas and populations that may be impacted and at risk for power outages. 


HHS Office of Minority Health- Guidance for Integrating Culturally Diverse Communities into Planning for and Responding to Emergencies: A Toolkit

This toolkit was developed to provide preparedness planning and response agencies, organizations, and professionals with practical strategies, resources and examples of models for improving existing activities and developing new programs to meet the needs of racially and ethnically diverse populations. Emergency Preparedness for Older People

This is a step-by-step guide prepared by healthcare professionals specializing in the care of older adults to prepare for and respond to older adults in an emergency. 


June Kailes- Moving Beyond “Special Needs”: A Function-Based Framework for Emergency Management and Planning

This article provides disability demographics and describes special needs populations to lay the foundation for moving beyond use of the “special needs” category, to better identify and address the diverse needs of those included under this label. It suggests the development of a more accurate and flexible planning and response framework based on essential, sometimes overlapping, functional needs: communication, medical needs, maintaining functional independence, supervision, and transportation (C-MIST). It also proposes new approaches to functional support, leadership, service delivery, and training.


June Kailes- Checklist for Integrating People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs into Emergency Preparedness, Planning, Response & Recovery

This checklist is for emergency planners, managers, responders, and public information officers (PIOs) who have responsibility for developing, maintaining, testing, delivering and revising emergency plans and services. 

June Kailes- Be Ready To Go: Evacuation Transportation Planning Tips for People with Access and Functional Needs

This document provides evacuation tips and resources related to evacuation for individuals with access and functional needs. 

National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS)- Emergency Response Preparedness Self-Assessment Instrument

The NASDDDS Emergency Response Preparedness Self-Assessment Instrument is designed to assist state developmental disabilities officials to evaluate the extent to which their existing preparedness plans address the unique characteristics and needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities during periods of emergency or disaster. The tool may also be used by disability provider organizations to create a checklist of topics to include in an organizational or individual’s emergency plan.


National Organization on Disability- Disaster Readiness Tips for People with Disabilities

This tip sheet for persons with disabilities describes steps that can be taken before an event occurs to lessen the impact of a disaster. Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Special Needs

This guide outlines commonsense measures individuals with disabilities, special needs and their caregivers can take to start preparing for emergencies before they happen. 


Red Cross- Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors

This guide was written by a New York based senior group and encourages seniors to take responsibility and prepare for an emergency.  


Red Cross- Functional and Access Needs Support A toolkit for empowering inclusive action

This toolkit was compiled by the American Red Cross Greater Chicago Region from partner resources and is accurate to the best of our knowledge. It is not a replacement for training regarding the inclusion of people who have functional and access needs in emergency and disaster planning, preparedness, response andrecovery. Although this is Chicago based this document has many universal tools and guidance for all regions. This document also has contributions from the University of Nebraska Medical Center HEROES Program among many other entities.

 Transportation Research Board- Transit Cooperative Research Program Report 150, Communication with Vulnerable Populations: A Transportation and Emergency Management Toolkit

This toolkit demonstrates how to create a communication process to reach vulnerable populations regarding their transportation options in emergencies. It provides a guiding framework and tools for constructing a scalable, adaptable communication process built on a network of agencies from public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Together, these partners will form interconnected communication channels with the ability to carry out the function of emergency communication in far reaching and resourceful ways not possible by working alone.  


USA Center for Rural Public Health Preparedness- Partnering to Achieve Rural Emergency Preparedness: A Workbook for Healthcare Providers in Rural Communities

This workbook is a practical guide created to assist rural health clinics and community health centers, migrant health centers and hospitals in rural areas that have limited healthcare resources, in preparing for and responding to emergency incidents.