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Access & Functional Needs

Disasters affect everybody, but not everybody is affected in the same way. All Washingtonians should prepare before disaster strikes, including individuals with access and functional needs.

Historically, disasters tend to impact some people more than others; it is important for individuals with access and functional needs (AFN) (i.e. older adults, children, people with disabilities, people with limited English proficiency, and people with unique transportation needs) to prepare for disasters and have access to resources before, during, and after a disaster.

Preparedness is not a one-size-fits-all activity and can easily be adapted to each individual and family unit. Individuals with access and functional needs should consider their unique abilities and needs when planning and preparing. Some considerations for preparing before disaster strikes are:

  • Has a personal support network been established?
  • How will emergency alerts be received?
  • What options are available for refilling and storing extra medications?
  • What communication options are available in a power outage?
  • What alternate transportation options are available?
  • What is the plan for evacuating?
  • What are alternate shelter options if evacuation is required?
  • Is the personal support network familiar with how to operate specific mobility devices?

Resources for AFN

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Show Me: Communication Tools

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Earthquake Country: Resources for People with Disabilities

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Ready.gov – Individuals with Disabilities

Three Steps to Preparedness

Learn your Hazards
Homes in a neighborhood
Have a Plan
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Build Kits

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Learning about the hazards near where you work, play, and live will help you and your family be prepared for disasters that could happen, like earthquakes, floods, and pandemics.

Having a family disaster plan gives you peace of mind when a disaster happens. Decide as a family where your meeting locations are and who your out-of-area contact is.

You and your family may be on your own for at least two weeks when a disaster happens. Build a 2 Weeks Ready kit at home and smaller kits for work, school, and vehicles.

Resources for Preparedness

Download Publications
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Outreach Activity Requests
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Prepare in a Year
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Connect With Us

Twitter: @waEMD

Facebook: WashEMD


Email: public.education@mil.wa.gov