City of Pasadena City of Pasadena

Disaster Preparedness:  Elderly and Disabled


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After a disaster, your environment may be very different. Exits may be blocked and sidewalks may be impassable. If you are prepared ahead of time, you will be better able to cope with the disaster and recover from it more quickly.

Make Sure Your Emergency Kit Works for You

In addition to the other items in your emergency kit, consider storing any of these items that may apply to your needs:

• Cane, crutches, walker or manual wheelchair

• Denture supplies

• Batteries for hearing aids

• Glasses with repair kits or contact lenses with cleaning supplies

• Heavy gloves for operating equipment (for caregivers)

• Whistle, loud bell or other alert device and a way for others to notify you

Instructions for medications and special equipment

• Phone numbers and other contact information for physicians and rehabilitation specialists

• Note pad with pen

• Supplies for your service animal

Aerosol tire repair kit for wheelchairs or scooters

Make Sure Neighbors and Caregivers are Prepared to Help

• Tell your neighbors if you are not able to move well or quickly in an emergency and make arrangements in advance for someone to check on you. Develop a support network of people who will check on you following a disaster; do not depend on only one person.

• If you have a personal attendant or home health worker, that person may not be able to help you. Talk in advance with your attendant or home health agency about plans for continued client services following an emergency.

Make Sure You Have the Prescriptions and Equipment You Need

• Never let your prescriptions run out completely. Always try to maintain a
three-day supply.

• For all medical equipment that requires electrical power, such as breathing equipment and infusion pumps, check with your medical supply company about a backup power source. This could include a battery pack or generator.

• If you receive dialysis or other medical treatments, ask for a copy of your provider’s emergency plan in advance, including where your back-up site may be located.

• If you rely on oxygen, talk to your vendor in advance about emergency replacements.

Make Sure Your Service Animal is Protected

• If you have a pet or service animal, plan for temporary relocations, transportation, etc.

Make Sure You are Able to Evacuate

Know all usable exits from each room and your building. Make a habit of identifying exits whenever you are in a new location (shopping mall, restaurant, movie theater, etc.)

Practice dealing with different circumstances and unforeseen situations, such as blocked paths or exits.

• Teach members of your support network how to operate your equipment (how to disengage gears on a power wheelchair, how to lift or transfer you, etc.)

• Include service animals in drills so they become familiar with exit routes.


If you are in a wheelchair during an earthquake, stay in it and go into a doorway
that does not have a door. Lock your wheelchair brakes. Cover your head and neck
with your hands.

• If you are in bed or out of a wheelchair, stay put and cover your head.

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