Preparing as a person with special needs

In case of emergency

Identify any obstacles you may face and plan for whatever is necessary for your safety and well-being or that of someone you know with special needs.

Familiarize yourself with the emergency exits and emergency equipment in the area where you live and work.

Have an alarm button installed in your home and workplace so that in an emergency you can signal where you are and that you need special assistance.

Wear a MedicAlert This hyperlink will open in a new window. bracelet or ID, if applicable, to inform emergency responders about your disabilities and allergies (food or medication).

If you get around with electrically powered devices:

  • Have a backup power source.
  • Agree with family or friends where you can stay in the event of a prolonged power outage.

If you have a hearing impairment:

  • Have paper and pencil handy.
  • Prepare a document containing the information you need to communicate your needs, such as “I use Quebec sign language” or “Please keep me informed of safety instructions in writing or in sign language.”
  • Install smoke alarms with flashing signals or with a vibration system to draw your attention if an alarm is triggered.

If you have a visual impairment:

  • Have a long white cane handy to help you get around. Debris may be on the ground or furniture may have shifted during the disaster.

Obtaining information from your municipality

Check if your municipality offers specific services for people with special needs:

  • A census of people with reduced mobility or with special needs
  • Special procedures for alerting hearing impaired people in an emergency
  • Equipment adapted for evacuations (patient lift, bariatric canvas, adapted stretcher)

Personal support network

Make a list of at least three people you know, including one who lives near you, and who can help you quickly.

Have a document with the contact information of these people handy and put a copy in your emergency kit.

Show these people how your equipment works and test your family safety plan with them.

Home emergency kit adapted to special needs

If you have a wheelchair or a scooter, add:

  • Tire repair kit
  • Compressed air bottle to re-inflate the tires
  • Additional air chambers
  • Pair of thick gloves to protect your hands in case your chair rolls over glass or other sharp or pointed debris
  • Spare battery

If you have a service animal, do not forget to add:

  • Bottled water and pet food for at least 72 hours
  • Water and food bowls
  • Manual can opener
  • Leash and collar
  • Blanket and toys
  • Plastic bags
  • Your pet’s medication, with a list indicating its medical condition, dosage and frequency of administration, as well as the veterinarian’s contact information
  • Bandages (your pet could cut its legs on debris)
  • Up-to-date ID tag, with your name and telephone number and those of the veterinarian
  • Recent photo of your service animal, in case you become separated

Also remember to add the following:

  • List of all foods and medications to which you are allergic
  • List of medications you are currently taking (note the purpose, generic name, dosage, frequency of administration, and the doctor’s name and contact information)
  • Photocopy of your prescriptions
  • Supply of your medication for a minimum of one week
  • Medical devices
  • Adapted equipment

Label all equipment corresponding your particular needs, indicating how to use, remove or move each device in an emergency.

Give this list to people in your network and keep a copy in your emergency kit.

In case of evacuation

If you need to go to a temporary shelter for those affected by a disaster, make sure it is wheelchair accessible and inform the people in charge of this location about the specific needs related to your condition.

Bring your emergency kit containing the necessary items for your specific needs.

Last update: April 12, 2023


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