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People with Disabilities or Access & Functional Needs

AFN Population

Access and functional needs (AFN) refers to individuals who are or have:
  • Physical, developmental or intellectual disabilities
  • Chronic conditions or injuries
  • Limited English proficiency
  • Older adults
  • Children
  • Low income, homeless and/or transportation disadvantaged (i.e., dependent on public transit)
  • Pregnant women


If you or someone close to you has a disability and other access and functional needs, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family in an emergency.

Access and Functional Needs | Additional Steps


Visually Impaired May be extremely reluctant to leave familiar surroundings when the request for evacuation comes from a stranger. A guide dog could become confused or disoriented in a disaster. People who are blind or partially sighted may have to depend on others to lead them, as well as their dog, to safety during a disaster.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing May need to make special arrangements to receive warnings
Mobility Impaired May need special assistance to get to a shelter.
Single working Parent May need help to plan for disasters and emergencies.
Non-English speaking persons May need assistance planning for and responding to emergencies. Community and cultural groups may be able to help keep people informed.
People without vehicles May need to make arrangements for transportation.
People with special dietary needs Should take special precautions to have an adequate emergency food supply.
People with medical conditions Should know the location and availability of more than one facility if dependent on a dialysis machine or other life-sustaining equipment or treatment.
People with intellectual disabilities May need help responding to emergencies and getting to a shelter.
People with Dementia Should be registered in the Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return Program.



How to Plan, Prepare, and Recover from a Disaster

Planning and Preparing for a Disaster


Disaster Preparedness Guides


Disaster Recovery Resources


Other Resources

Related Resources