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Disaster Services

Disaster Preparedness for People With Disabilities


One of the best ways to reduce the damages from a disaster and avoid possible injuries is to prepare for disasters ahead of time. This will mitigate, or lessen, the effects of a disaster. Here are some suggestions on how you can make your home or office safer before a disaster strikes.

  • Check hallways, stairwells, doorways, windows, and other areas for hazards that may keep you from safely leaving a building during an emergency. Secure or remove furniture and other items that may block your path. This will allow you to have several unblocked passages to travel after a disaster.
  • Keep emergency lights plugged into electrical wall outlets. These lights automatically turn on if there is a power outage and may help light your escape paths for you or your network. Emergency lights will remain lit for four to six hours; however, you can turn them off by hand during the daytime to save their battery charge.

In the event of an earthquake-

  • Bolt pictures, mirrors, curio cabinets, and other heavy objects to wall studs using the appropriate hardware.
  • Bolt bookcases to wall studs. Use bungee cords or a strip of wood nailed to the edge of the shelf to keep books from falling off.
  • Strap your water heater and other large appliances to wall studs using strap iron (sometimes called plumber's tape).
  • Use latches on cabinets so that their contents do not fall out when the building shakes.
  • Use hook-and-loop fasteners (such as Velcro®) to secure typewriters, computers, oxygen equipment, and other heavy items to sturdier objects.

Additional Information

Call your local American Red Cross to learn about the resources available to help you, your family, and friends prepare for a disaster. Your Red Cross chapter can also help you find out about other local programs and services offered to the public.

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge. This is made possible by the generous contributions of the American people's time, money, and skills. The Red Cross is not a government agency. Financial support of your local Red Cross helps make copies of this booklet and other disaster education materials available to your community as well as to communities nationwide. Your support is appreciated.

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