Seniors & People with Special Needs

In an emergency or disaster, the elderly and people with special needs are very vulnerable and make up a high percentage of the victims. Planning for their safety and health during a disaster must be specific to their individual, unique needs.  It is also important to have back-up plans.

One of the first steps to take is to create a personal support networkwhich would consist of friends, relatives or neighbors who are willing to check in on the senior or person with special needs in an emergency to make sure they are safe. It may also be necessary to provide assistance at that time, so the support individuals need to be prepared to do that.

The NYS Consumer Protection Board has created a Senior Information Line (1-800-503-9000) that will provide tips and updates for seniors on issues such as preventing falls, how to avoid the latest scams and identity theft and other issues important to seniors. This information can also be found on the Consumer Protection Board’s website.



Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors was created by a group of senior citizens in Monroe County, NY after a severe ice storm.  Sponsored by the American Red Cross Rochester-Monroe Co. Chapter. provides information for:
Senior citizens
People with limited mobility and other specials needs

Accessible Emergency Information – 18 emergency preparedness topics formatted for people who have impaired vision or are deaf or blind.

“Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs”  – FEMA in partnership with the American Red Cross.

Emergency Evacuation Preparedness: Taking Responsibility for Your Safety is a guide for people with disabilities and other activity limitations created by the Center for Disability Issues & the Health Professions (2002)

Personal Preparedness Planning – Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities

Additional Information

What do we mean when we say “people with special needs?” -Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters (CARD)

Heat Stress in the Elderly – People over the age of 65 are more vulnerable to heat stress. CDC fact sheet describing heat stress signs and symptoms and practical prevention measures.

Seniors and Fire – guide for senior citizens or their caretakers on how to avoid, prevent starting, or seriously injured in,
a house fire. University of Florida. ​