Disaster & Emergency Planning

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A disaster or emergency can strike at any time - sometimes without warning.

Floridians, especially Floridians with disabilities who may need assistance with evacuation or while in a shelter, should plan ahead. Preparing while things are safe and calm will help you cope better when disaster or emergency happens.

Planning ahead includes learning about your rights and responsibilities as well as your options for shelter.

Download our new Are You Prepared for an Emergency? brochure (PDF). Other languages are available on our Publications page.

Evacuate or Stay?

Whether to evacuate or stay in your home or at your current location is a very important decision. Your disaster plan should include options for both situations - evacuating or staying.

Consider your unique circumstances and the nature of the emergency. Use local officials and news outlets to learn if the danger is immediate. Use your best judgment - no one knows your needs as well as you do. If you are specifically ordered to evacuate, do it. 

If your daily activities require additional travel time or transportation assistance, your disaster plan should include prior travel arrangements.

For additional information on making your decision and developing your plan go to the www.FloridaDisaster.org Disability Disaster webpage.

Also be aware that providers who care for people with disabilities are required to have their own plans. They must:

  • designate an emergency coordinating officer,
  • develop a procedure to contact the people they care for who need assistance and sheltering because of disabilities,
  • assist people with disabilities to register with the Special Needs Registry,
  • implement a dispatch system, and
  • prepare for how to continue to provide esential services before, during and after a disaster.

If you are responsible for helping people with disabilities during an evacuation, read Tips for Evacuating Vulnerable Populations on the www.FloridaDisaster.org website.