Key Earthquake Safety Tips for People with Disabilities

Release Date:
June 12, 2020

Develop or update your individual and family plans:
• Build a personal support team to check on you in case you need assistance. Include them in all phases of your planning.
• Know how you will communicate with your family and caregiver if you become separated.
• Prepare a list of important contacts – family, doctor, service providers.
• Make emergency go kits for your home, car and office.

o Remember to make kits for service animals and pets, too.
o Store extra medications, batteries and any needed supplies in your kits.
o Label adaptive equipment or other devices with your contact information in case they are separated from you.

Protect yourself from falling objects by preparing now:
• Have your family practice how to Drop, Cover and Hold On.
• Secure heavy items in your home – bookcases, refrigerators, televisions, paintings and wall art – with straps and bolts.
• Store heavy and breakable objects on low shelves.
• Apply safety film to windows and glass doors to avoid flying glass.
• Install latches on drawers and cabinet doors to keep contents from spilling.

People with mobility problems:
• If you are in a recliner or bed: Lie on your stomach and cover your head and neck with your arms or a pillow until the shaking stops.
• If you use a cane: Drop, Cover, and Hold On or sit on a chair or in a bed and cover your head and neck with both hands. Keep your cane nearby.
• If you use a wheelchair or walker: Lock your wheels. If using a walker, carefully get as low as possible.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing:
• Prior to an earthquake, identify and test multiple ways to receive warnings and evacuation information.

People who are blind or have low vision:
• Earthquakes can cause items to fall and furniture to shift. Regular sensory clues may not be available. Move with caution.

People with developmental/cognitive/intellectual disabilities:
• If you have difficulty understanding, remembering, or learning, keep a simple list of what to do and important information with you and in your kits. Practice your plan.
• If you use an alphabet board, speech-generating device or mobile device with an app to speak or communicate, include these in your planning.



FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 711 for Video Relay Service. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish.) TTY call 800-462-7585.

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