Access and Functional Needs in Emergency Management

An integral part of whole community planning in emergency management is including people with access and functional needs and people with disabilities. N.C. Emergency Management has an advisory committee, with representatives from state agencies, local and state non-profits that serve people with disabilities, as well as local and county emergency management agencies to address issues and develop guidelines and resources. This will help to ensure all residents of North Carolina are served before, during and after disasters.

Accessibility Checklist for Vaccination Sites

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all testing and vaccination sites be accessible to people with access, functional, and communication needs, whether events are funded publicly or privately. This checklist highlights important considerations and strategies to promote accessibility at all vaccination sites and includes resource options to help meet those needs.


Accessibility in Shelters

Emergency shelters should be ADA accessible, and every shelter should be assessed for accessibility before a disaster strikes. If necessary, temporary adjustments can be made to increase accessibility for people with disabilities. Many of the Centers for Independent Living in North Carolina have offered to assist in these assessments. A one-page Shelter Worker Accessibility Checklist is available to help in this endeavor.

Functional Assessment Support Teams (FAST)

FAST responders are trained human and social service professionals who assess people for additional supports and resources they may need to remain independent while in a shelter. These may be requests for wheelchairs, walkers, consumable medical supplies, personal care assistants, or anything else an individual might need. For more information about FAST responders, how to become one, and how to request FAST services visit the FAST website

Emergency Planning and People with Access and Functional Needs

To provide guidance to county and municipal emergency managers on the integration of people with access and functional needs into all phases of emergency management, an Access and Functional Needs Toolkit for Emergency Managers was developed.

Agency/Organization Disaster Readiness

Every agency and organization that serves people with access and functional needs and people with disabilities should be prepared to continue to serve them before, during and after a disaster. It is strongly recommended that non-profit and governmental entities develop business continuity plans (BCPs) and/or continuity of operations plans (COOPs) to enable them to remain open and functional during and after an emergency. Whichever toolkit is used by an agency or organization to achieve this, there are recommended disaster core competencies that an agency or organization should meet. 
More about disaster readiness resources for organizations and the different core competencies can be found at: