Emergency Planning Resources

Emergency planning doesn’t ordinarily fit in a DSS provider’s job duties but as we all learn, we are consulted on the darnedest things and over time we collect an often disparate array of resources that we turn to for information or to make referrals when called upon for help.  Emergency planning is no exception.  Indeed, we may find ourselves one day being asked to serve a term on our institution’s Safety and Security committee or  Student Care Team.

The emergency planning resources listed below can help disabled students plan for emergencies and also contain good information for all of us.

Disaster Safety for People with Disabilities: What to Do When Emergency Weather Strikes:  Available from Redfin real estate brokerage in California, this site discusses the importance of a personal safety plan, and addresses such issues as having an emergency supply kit, knowing what your insurance does and does not cover  and more. It also discusses things to consider in different weather conditions (e.g. blizzard, hurricane, tornado etc).

Safe travels: Disaster preparedness on the road: From the American Public Health Association, this two-page fact sheet “Are You Ready?” discusses what to expect when on the road and weather related emergencies (e.g., tornados, floods, landslides, earthquakes, wildfires, blizzards) happen.

Emergency Power Planning for People Who Use Electricity and Battery-Dependent Assistive Technology: From the ADA National Network, this emergency power planning checklist is for people who use electricity and battery dependent assistive technology and medical devices inluding: breathing machines (respirators, ventilators); power wheelchairs and scooters; oxygen, suction or home dialysis equipment).

Emergency Preparedness for People With Disabilities — Guide and Checklist From the journal, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation,  the “Emergency Preparedness for People With Disabilities – Guide and Checklist, presents guidelines for preparing for emergency situations and a checklist for building an emergency kit and recommends building and practicing a plan for each place where you ordinarily spend your time e.g., for home, work, and school.

Family Communication Plan for Parents From Ready.gov,  this worksheet  can help  families,  and parenting students, prepare for disasters and emergencies by having a communication plan in place.

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Learning Disabilities? These Apps May Help

The Assistive Technology Project (ATP) trainers are a tremendous resource when it comes to recommending and thinking creatively about technology (both low and high tech) that may be useful and helpful for an individual with a disability.  If you’re working with students with specific learning disabilities (SLD), consider  working with the student to see if any  of the apps in the chart below, would be effective for them. (Click on the image below to open the document in a new window.)

shows table of suggested apps for SLD

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Access to Success: Free Online Course for College Students with Disabilities

Access to Success is a free online course from the Research and Training Center on Independent Living (RTC/IL) at the University of Kansas. The course is designed to help students learn about their rights and responsibilities in the post-secondary environment, and to develop self-advocacy skills.

For students who are transitioning from high school to college, this program would be useful as a component of the planning process

The course syllabus is below:

WARM-UP –  a short multiple chose quiz for students to discover what they already know

LESSON 1: – Content covers your rights and knowing yourself

  • The names and requirements in the federal laws that give you the right to reasonable accommodations in higher education
  • The support services that are available in your higher education program to help you get the accommodations you need
  • The definitions of accommodations and kinds of accommodation that students with disabilities may use, including technological and non-technological accommodations
  • The difference between reasonable and unreasonable accommodations
  • Your own strengths and needs related to being successful in a higher education program
  • How to think about the environment and expectations of your higher education program and consider the accommodations that would best enable you to be successful

LESSON 2 – A skills-base lesson that gives participants an opportunity to practice advocating for themselves.

COOL DOWN – a post-quiz that allows the participant to assess what he/she has learned.


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Accessibility as a Civil Right

As disability services providers, we’re skilled in working with students and faculty (and in documenting the process) to ensure that courses and campus resources are accessible. What we may not have the time to do or know how to do effectively, is figure out to mount an institution-wide campaign to get buy-in from faculty, staff, and students, especially in the area of electronic information technology (EIT).

While it is possible to get the attention of campus leaders and others by pointing out the increasing number of OCR investigations and lawsuits, it is far more effective to  frame the discussion about accessibility and why it is critical to put more resources into accessibility in the context of civil rights.

In this article for Educause Review, Art Morgan states,

In my opinion, the most successful campaigns have a common thread: they promote accessibility as a civil right and explain how accessibility fosters diversity and inclusiveness.

The complete article may be found at  Accessibility as a Civil Right.


Art Morgan is vice president for partner development at Automatic Sync Technologies, a leading provider of closed captioning services for education and educational publishers.

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2018 Member Directory

Updated January 24, 2018

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