Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities, Seniors, and Others with Access and Functional Needs
Everyone needs to understand their risk to various hazards, make a plan to stay safe, have an emergency kit, and plan to stay informed as events unfold.
The following information is designed to provide details for community members with access and functional needs that are not always obvious and may not be covered in the SoCoEmergency Preparedness information.
Disasters happen unexpectedly and events unfold fast. Information can save lives.
- Be sure you have a number of ways to get information on what is happening
- Sign up to receive life-saving information in your local area.
- For those who may need extra time to evacuate, please leave early to ensure your and your caregivers safety.
Sign Up for these Alerts
NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) – Get a NOAA Weather Radio and leave it on at all times. When activated by an event, these radios generate an alarm, voice alert, and flasher.
Sonoma County residents may tune their NOAA radio to frequency 162.475.
If you are deaf or have hearing loss these radios have add-on equipment such as strobe lights and bed shakers to help alert everyone in the household that action is needed in an emergency.
The Midland WR-120 Weather Radio accepts accessories such as strobes and bed shakers. An instructional video regarding how to set up this weather radio is provided below:
Learn more about National Weather Radio (NWR) Receivers »
Make a Plan
- People and pets are your first priority.
- If you will need help to evacuate quickly reach out, in advance, to neighbors, family, or friends and discuss how they can assist you, what you will need, and a back-up plan in case the primary help is not able to assist.
- Be sure to have extra supply of life-saving medications on hand, as well as copies of prescriptions.
- If you have life-saving equipment plan for alternate resources should you need to evacuate, or a way to take the equipment with you.
- Remember, first responders will be overloaded in a disaster, help yourself by planning in advance!
- Be sure to include a written description of your disability and any specific instructions to help first responders, such as how best to communicate with you if you have a speech or hearing loss, or best method for direct assistance or guided help if you have a mobility or vision loss, etc.
- Complete a Personal Emergency Plan (PDF: 804kB)
For general planning, check out Make a Plan.
Build a Kit
- Your Go Bag should include a change of clothes, sturdy shoes, a battery powered radio, flashlight, whistle, moisten towelettes, extra life-saving medications, copies of all prescriptions and important documents (e.g. ID, insurance cards, deeds), extra eye glasses, batteries for hearing aids, some cash, bottled water and hearty snacks.
- A written description of your disability will be helpful if you are unable to communicate.
- If you use a motorized mobility device it is helpful to have a manual travel chair available in case of rapid evacuation orders.
- Try to have extra of all medical supplies you need standing by for rapid departure.
Special information regarding PG&E power shutoffs
During special conditions, which include red flag warnings, high winds, low humidity, dry fuel load, and other factors, PG&E may shut down power in an effort to minimize the risk of starting a wildfire. While they will make every attempt to provide advanced notice, that may not be possible so being prepared for a power outage is important for everyone in Sonoma County this fire season. The power could be out for a number of days.
- Make sure PG&E has your current contact information. Update your contact information with PG&E online or call (866) 743-6589.
- Learn about PG&E’s Public Safety and Power Shutoff program
- Make a Plan to Stay Safe
- If you have lifesaving medical equipment:
- Verify PG&E has you registered with their Medical Baseline Allowance program,
- Plan to have back-up power sources for all critical medical needs (including refrigerated lifesaving medications), and
- Have pre-established connections with nearby family or neighbors to assist if needed.
There are a number of things you can do to get ready for a power outage. Check our Power Shutoff page for what to do next.
- BC Association for Individualized Technology and Supports for People with Disabilities (BCITS). Self-Help Guide • Back-up Power for Ventilators.
- California Office of Emergency Services (OES). Office of Access & Functional Needs Library.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Power Outages.
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare coverage in disasters and emergencies