FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) fema@service.govdelivery.com

Preparedness for People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs

This year marks the 26th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Signed into law in 1990 by President George HW Bush, the ADA prohibits discrimination and mandates equal opportunities for people with disabilities in employment, state, and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunication.

If you or someone you know has a disability or access or functional needs, be sure to take additional steps to stay safe, healthy, mobile, and independent during a disaster.

Find out about assistance programs that may be available in your community and register in advance with your local office of emergency services, non-profit groups, and health departments.

Stay mobile and independent by including items in your disaster supply kit that meet your needs such as:

        Extra eyeglasses and hearing aids;

        Medical prescriptions;

        Batteries and chargers for assistance devices; and

        Written descriptions of service needs.

Looking for more ways to plan for people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs? Check out this video from the Ready Campaign and the Ad Council. The video is for all communities and shows people with disabilities taking charge to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies. The video provides equal access and includes open captioning, a certified deaf interpreter, and audio description for viewers who are blind or have low vision.

Food Safety Before and After Disasters


Power outages can jeopardize the safety of the food stored in your home refrigerator or freezer. If you lose electricity, do you know how to determine if your food is safe to eat? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers tips to follow before and after a power outage to minimize loss of food and lower the risk of foodborne illness:

        Gather an emergency food supply of shelf-stable food, boxed or canned milk, bottled water, and canned goods;

        Have coolers and frozen gel packs on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power goes out longer than four hours;

        Buy an appliance thermometer for the refrigerator and freezer and a food thermometer to help you know if the food has stayed at a safe temperature during an outage;

        Throw out any perishable food items such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers that have been exposed to temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours;

        Use a food thermometer to test the temperature of food Ė never taste it!  You canít rely on appearance and odor to determine whether food is safe; and

        Discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices. 

Keep in mind that your refrigerator will keep food cold safely for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.


Did you know that a flood or fire can also impact the safety of food in your home? Be sure to check out the FAQs on the USDA website about keeping food safe after these emergencies.