If you, or a member of your household or community has a disability or any special requirement that may affect the ability to cope in a disaster, make arrangements now to get the required support.
Build a personal support network
Organise a personal support network of a minimum of three people to alert you to civil defence warnings, or to help if you need to be evacuated. This could be family members, carers, friends, neighbours or co-workers.
Ensure you have an emergency plan before a disaster happens and practice it with your support network. Plan for various disasters and situations you could encounter.
Discuss your needs with the support network and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment.
Inform your support team if you are travelling or away from home.
You should also consider
Ensuring you have emergency survival items, including any specialised items you need, and a getaway kit in case of evacuation.
Keeping at least seven days’ supply of your essential medications and make provisions for those that require refrigeration.
Wearing a medical alert tag or bracelet to identify your disability or health condition.
When travelling, letting a hotel or motel manager know of your requirements in case of an emergency.
Knowing where to go for assistance if you are dependent on a dialysis machine or other life-sustaining equipment or treatment.
If you have a hearing impairment
Radio and television stations will broadcast civil defence information and advice before and during a disaster. Ask your support network to alert you to warnings and keep you informed. Contact the emergency management staff to find out what local warning systems are in place in your community.
Consider installing a system appropriate to your needs such as an alarm with flashing strobe lights to get your attention. Replace the batteries once a year. You may want to consider giving a key to a neighbour so they can alert you to a warning. Keep a writing pad and pencils and a torch in your getaway kit so you can communicate with others.
If you have a sight impairment
People who are blind or partially sighted may have to depend on others if they have to evacuate or go to a Civil Defence Centre. If you have a guide dog, make sure you have a getaway kit for your dog with food, medications, vaccination records, identification and harnesses to take with you. Keep extra canes at home and in the workplace even if you use a guide dog. Be aware that animals may become confused or disoriented in an emergency. Trained service animals will be allowed to stay in emergency shelters with their owners. Check with your local council for more information.
If you have a physical disability or mobility impairment
If you or someone you are caring for has a physical disability or difficulty with mobility, include mobility aids in your emergency getaway kit. This will help you cope if you are evacuated to a different area. In a major earthquake the ground-shaking will make it difficult or impossible for you to move any distance. If you cannot safely get under a table, move near an inside wall of the building away from windows and tall items that can fall on you, and cover your head and neck as best you can. Lock your wheels if you are in a wheelchair. In bed, pull the sheets and blankets over you and use your pillow to protect your head and neck.
If you have asthma or respiratory problems
People with asthma or a respiratory disorder will be more susceptible to dust, volcanic ash, or the stress of an emergency. Make sure you have dust masks at home and in your emergency getaway kit and sufficient medicines for at least seven days.
If you have special food requirements
If you, or someone you are caring for, have special dietary needs, make sure there is sufficient stock of these food items for at least seven days at home, and in the emergency getaway kit. If you have to be evacuated, emergency shelters are unlikely to have the special food items you may need.