Community Planning for Those with Disabilities, Access & Functional Needs

NYC Emergency Management follows a whole community approach to emergency planning. This includes people with disabilities, along with older adults, children, people with limited or no English proficiency, individuals with health vulnerabilities, and others who may need assistance or support during an emergency.

Annual Symposium

Every year, NYC Emergency Management's Community Preparedness team brings together service providers, consumers, advocates, and community stakeholders to its symposium to address planning for people that require a higher level of support during emergencies, including those with disabilities, access, and functional needs.
Access the most recent event materials

Preparedness for Organizations

Community organizations should focus on developing community emergency networks that include disability, access and functional needs organizations to assure inclusive planning efforts and assistance in time of an emergency.
NYC Emergency Management's preparedness resources for people with disabilities, access, and functional needs.

Community organizations should also follow these tips (outlined below).

Physical Accessibility

Choose an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible facility for your emergency planning and response efforts. Your community planning and response operations (i.e., resource or volunteer reception centers) should be fully accessible including an accessible entrance, program space and bathroom to accommodate people with mobility disabilities.
Get a physical accessibility checklist

Assistive Communication Devices

Plan how your organization will effectively communicate with people with vision or hearing disabilities and those with limited English proficiency during times of emergency.
List of assistive communication devices


Educate your community members with mobility disabilities and those with access and functional needs about evacuating their buildings and neighborhood in case of a coastal storm.

  • Make a plan for how you will evacuate your building and neighborhood.
  • Build a support network of family, friends and neighbors who can assist you.
  • Bring medication, communication, mobility or any other devices and supplies specific to your disability.
  • Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, including hand sanitizer, and face coverings for each person.* (*Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 2. They also should not be used by people having trouble breathing, or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance. Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC))

Get additional tips

Life-Sustaining Equipment Customers

Educate your community members who rely on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment to register with their utility provider as a life sustaining equipment customer to be contacted in the event of an emergency. You can distribute the following resources to inform your community:

Advance Warning System

For organizations that serve people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. Sign up for preparedness tips and emergency alerts

Get Prepared: Disabilities, Access & Functional Needs

People with disabilities or access and functional needs must take additional steps when making a plan to be prepared. Visit the Get Prepared: Disabilities, Access & Functional Needs page for more information and access frequently asked questions about how to prepare for such hazards as coastal storms and extreme heat. 

Emergency Shelter Training Video

View the video below to learn about emergency shelters and how staff is trained.