Learn More About Disability Emergency Preparedness

Ensure that people with disabilities have the help they need in an emergency. Let us help you prepare your community with emergency response resources and procedures.

The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) hosts meetings to help communities prepare for an emergency. We bring people with disabilities together with local emergency planners and first responders. 

Members of the disability community learn about the personal steps they can take to prepare for different emergency situations. We give you planning guides to help in this process. The meetings also teach how to create an "Emergency Go Pack" that you might need in an emergency. 

First responders and emergency planners learn about making more accessible community preparedness plans. We will also hand out guides for first responders on how to interact with people with disabilities in an emergency.

Background

The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) receives federal funding through the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to conduct community meetings throughout Massachusetts, bringing together people with disabilities, their local emergency planners, and first responders to discuss personal and community preparedness plans.

Since 2007, MOD has conducted over 250 personal preparedness meetings throughout the Commonwealth and interacted with over 10,000 people. MOD has handed out over 9,000 personal preparedness go-packs, 2,500 “Tips for First Responders on How to Interact with People with Disabilities in Times of Emergency”, and more than 11,000 personal preparedness planning guides. The success of the program has been noted by the waiting list MOD keeps from local groups that are asking to hold these meetings and the overwhelmingly positive feedback provided by meeting participants.  

In 2012, MOD's Personal Emergency Preparedness Program received an “Honorable Mention” in the "Awareness to Action" category from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 2012 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards. The Awareness to Action category recognized entities that use effective messaging techniques to not only raise awareness about hazards and disaster preparedness, but also persuades members of the general public to take action to prepare themselves, their families, and their communities.

Additional Resources for Background

About the program

The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) is hosting meetings to bring together people with disabilities and local emergency preparedness professionals. The purpose of these meetings is to explore how to ensure that people with disabilities have the assistance they need in times of emergency.

  • An ice storm leaves the region without electricity.

  • Fire in an industrial plant forces evacuation of surrounding communities.

  • A train jumps the tracks, releasing a cloud of toxic chemicals.

Communities across the Commonwealth are planning for emergency situations like these, some are natural and others are man-made; some require evacuation while others require sheltering at home.

Members of the disability community will learn about the emergency response resources and procedures within their local communities and the steps that can be taken personally to prepare for emergency situations.

The meetings discuss items needed for an "Emergency Go Pack" that would have essential items that might be needed during an emergency.

Testimonials

"I just wanted to thank you for the “Emergency Go Packs” you handed out in Chicopee a couple of months ago."

"So far my wife and I have had to use them twice in as many months. The first when the tornado hit the Springfield area on June 1st and the 2nd when Chicopee was hit with a micro-burst about a month later."

"Being prepared sure came handy both times. My grandson has always called me when severe weather approaches and we had brought him home the day of the tornado. He now feels even more secure knowing his grandfather is more prepared for what may come along."

"Was ready again this afternoon when the earthquake started to shake the area. Thank God it was not severe but thank you people at the MOD for helping the disabilities community. You have been there for the disabled again and again.” 

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