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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Emergency Preparedness

Do you know what to do in case of fire? A massive power outage? A natural disaster?

Recent events have taught all of us to be mindful of potential emergencies, and neither age nor vision problems should prevent you from preparing yourself. If you don't know who to contact in your community regarding emergency preparedness, start with your local fire department. It is usually integral to a community's disaster preparation and response and will know where to direct you.

In the meantime, here is what you can do to prepare:

  • Compile an emergency kit; include a three-day supply of nonperishable food and water, a flashlight with live batteries, prescription medications, a first aid kit, hand-crank radio, extra batteries, important papers (home deed, insurance, etc.) and your low vision aids and appliances.
  • Know the locations of emergency exits.
  • Learn about transit systems and routes that are different from the ones you usually use.
  • Prepare a list of emergency contacts and numbers.
  • Practice emergency evacuation plans.
  • Develop a buddy system and contacts with individuals and agencies both local (such as the local fire house or Red Cross affiliate) and out of state.
  • Make sure that contacts outside your area are aware of your emergency plans.

If you have a service animal or pet, you should develop a plan for it as well. Emergency Preparedness for your Service Animal or Pet, compiled by the American Council of the Blind, provides a comprehensive checklist and helpful information.

If you're interested in becoming involved with emergency preparedness plans in your community, you can contact local authorities and vision loss agencies about developing emergency response systems (including transportation) for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

For More Information

  • Hadley School for the Blind: Safety in the Home. This course gives you the information you need to protect yourself, your family, and your home in case of emergency. Hadley Courses are available free of charge in cassette, large print, and braille versions.
  • National Fire Protection Association: Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities. This brochure, while aimed primarily at employers and building managers, contains important information for anyone with a visual impairment or other disability on evacuation procedures.
  • Northeast Texas Public Health District: 18 Emergency Preparedness Topics, formatted to be friendly to deaf, blind, and limited sight populations. The information is in video and downloadable document format for public use. There is no charge for use of the materials posted on this website.

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