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Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS)

Planning for People with Access and Functional Needs

If you or someone in your family has access or functional needs, you may need to take some additional steps to prepare for a disaster. Remember, you may be on your own for up to three days before power, food, or water becomes available.

Make sure you take the following steps:

  • Ensure you have a fully-stocked emergency kit with enough food and water for 72 hours.
  • Determine if you will need any additional resources and make a plan in case those items are in short supply.
  • Develop a support network to help you plan for emergencies. Include friends, family, neighbors, faith-based, and community groups.
  • If you use in-home support services, plan on how you will keep them informed of your situation during and after an emergency.
  • Work with local transportation and disability services to plan for accessible transportation if needed for evacuation.
  • If you use a service animal, make sure you have food, water, and other items for your service animal in your emergency kit.


For residents who rely on electricity to power life-support equipment in their homes, such as respirators or kidney dialysis machines, many power companies offer programs to provide advance notice of scheduled outages and information on how to prepare for emergencies.  It is still your responsibility to make appropriate arrangements such as portable generator, battery backup and a contingency plan, such as identifying places where to go for shelter or care in extreme emergencies, but these programs can sometimes provide notice so that you can take appropriate actions.

For more information of these programs, please contact your power company or check the following links:


BG & E

First Energy

Please note that since those who rely on electricity to power life-support equipment are located through out the county, it is not possible to give priority to these customers following storm outages.



For more information:

Link to FEMA's Community Preparedness Principles
FEMA's campaign offers a wealth of information on what people with functional or access needs should do to prepare for emergencies.



We Prepare Every Day, a series of public service announcement (PSA) videos that aim to deliver a strong preparedness message by showing people with disabilities taking charge to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies. The PSA provides equal access to all viewers and includes open captioning, a certified deaf interpreter, and audio description for viewers who are blind or have low vision. 

National Association on Disability Emergency Preparedness Resources

Inclusive Preparedness Center Disaster Readiness Page

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