Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness and planning is essential for all members in communities, including community members with a disability. Emergencies strike quickly and without warning. It is important for us to be united as a community to prepare for such emergencies. Taking an active role in emergency preparedness will bring peace of mind for you and your loved ones in the event of a natural disaster or other unexpected emergency.

Winter Preparedness

In Utah, winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. These storms are often accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain. Of primary concern is winter weather’s ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home, sometimes for days at a time. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.

Important Winter Emergency Preparation Tips

  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep your fuel line from freezing. Always have an emergency kit in the trunk of your vehicle when you travel.
  • Add warm clothing and extra blankets to your 72-Hour Kit.
  • Consider alternative heating methods such as fireplaces or wood/coal burning stoves and have them cleaned and inspected every year.
  • Have sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less dangerous.

For more information, visit FEMA’s website

Visit ready.org

Summer Preparedness

Utah Summers are very hot and very dry. In extreme heat, the body must work much harder to maintain a normal temperature. Most heat disorders occur due to overexposure to heat. Poor air quality, increased heat retained by asphalt and concrete, place urban areas at more risk of a prolonged heat wave than those living in rural areas.

Important Summer Emergency Preparation Tips

  • Ensure you have adequate water for 3 days in your 72-Hour Kit.
  • Have contingency plans for seeking cooler temperatures and shade in case of power outages.
  • Learn how to treat heat-related emergencies by enrolling in a First Aid course.
Visit ready.org

Emergency Responders

During an emergency, people with a disability may require assistance. Some physical disabilities may be obvious while others, such as mental illness or intellectual disabilities, may not. Every person and every disability is unique. Respecting people with disabilities and treating them with dignity must be conscious goal while responding to emergencies. The ability to do so, requires planning and training on the part of both emergency responders as well as individuals and their families.

Tips for Individuals and Families

This allows emergency response agencies to better plan for the safety of people with disabilities in emergencies.

  • Create a personal support network Identify people at home, school, in the workplace or other areas where you spend a lot of time who are informed of your capabilities and needs and can respond quickly in an emergency.
  • Learn about Community Disaster Plans Contact DSPD or local American Red Cross Chapter to learn about emergency plans and procedures that exist to help you.
  • Have a contingency plan in place for medical equipment and other adaptive equipment Know how to access back-up power for essential medical equipment, have manual adaptive equipment available if needed, consider how you will alert others for assistance in an emergency.
  • Have sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less dangerous.

Tips for Emergency Responders

  • Be aware that many disabilities are not obvious.
  • Be quick to identify yourself, saying your name and explaining clearly what your job is and the situation.
  • Remember to treat the person with the dignity of an equal and as an adult by speaking directly to the person.
  • Give extra time for the person to process what you are saying.
  • Communicate using short sentences and simple concrete words and ideas.

Making an Emergency Plan


Individual or Family Plan

A lot goes into making an emergency plan, and there are a lot of considerations. We can help. See below for tips and links to help you get started in preparing an emergency plan that will help protect you and your loved ones.

Service Provider Plans

All service providers contracted with DSPD are required to have a Continuity and Disaster Preparedness Plan. Disasters present unique challenges, especially for individuals with disabilities. Creating a workable disaster plan to coordinate the safety of many can be difficult.

Available Resources

DSPD Announcements

We are excited to be showcasing a new webpage, filled with tips and resources to help people with disabilities and those who serve them to be prepared for impending emergencies and disasters. We hope you find this resource helpful.

Additional Resources

Printable fill-in-the-blank forms booklet to record important and unique personal information that can be used in an emergency.

The Take & Go Emergency Book: For Persons with Disabilities & Their Families

For help identifying actions that should be taken before, during and after an event that are unique to each hazard.

Emergency Planning and Preparation Tips

Get Ready for The Great Utah ShakeOut!

The Division of Services for People with Disabilities will once again be participating in the Great Utah ShakeOut

The Division of Services for People with Disabilities will once again be participating in the Great Utah ShakeOut

Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are an annual opportunity for people in homes, schools, and organizations to practice what to do during earthquakes, and to improve preparedness.

On April 16th, 2015, Division staff members will participate in the Great Utah ShakeOut Earthquake Drill. We hope to be joined by many of our contracted service providers and support coordinators, making this a system-wide disaster drill. We would be delighted to have anyone who is interested join us! You can find more information by going to the Great ShakeOut Webpage at: www.shakeout.org

For Additional Information contact Rick Cobia at rcobia@utah.gov