• Access and Functional Needs
  • Access and Functional Needs
  • Access and Functional Needs

Disasters impact everyone in Kitsap County. But, emergencies affect people with access and functional needs more than others. Whether you are a caretaker or someone who lives with special considerations, making a plan and knowing what to do is important.

Access and Functional Needs

Key Considerations

Please note, the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management (KCDEM) does not supply medications or durable medical equipment during emergencies.  Below are some recommendations and sources to prepare for emergencies.  Use this information as a starting point for those with access and functional needs:

Get Informed

Learn which area threats and hazards are most likely to happen where you live, work, and play. Plan accordingly. Kitsap County is at high risk for a major earthquake. Yet, floods, landslides, and severe weather are more common and could have more impact in daily lives.   

Make a Plan

Preparedness is not a one-size-fits-all activity. Each individual should adapt plans according to their situation. Some considerations for emergency preparation are:

  • Create a support network. Keep a contact list in a watertight container in your emergency kit.
  • Be ready to explain to first responders that you need to evacuate and what you need.
  • Plan ahead for accessible transportation. Become familiar with Kitsap Transit’s access guidelines
  • Inform your support network where you keep your emergency supplies. You may want to consider giving one member a key to your house or apartment.
  • Contact your local fire district. Many keep lists of people with disabilities so they can help them in a sudden emergency. 
  • If you use medical equipment in your home that uses electricity, talk to your doctor or health care provider. There may be ways you can prepare for its use during a power outage.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets.
  • If you have a communication disability, make sure your emergency information states the best way to communicate with you.
  • If you use an augmentative communications device or assistive technologies, plan how you will evacuate with the devices. Else, have a plan for how you will replace equipment if lost or destroyed. Keep model numbers and note where the equipment came from (Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, etc.)
  • Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working. Include laminated cards with phrases, pictures or pictograms.
  • Keep Braille/text communication cards, if used, for two-way communication.
  • If you are dependent on dialysis or other life-sustaining treatment, know the location and availability of more than one facility. Get preparedness tips for people with diabetes
  • Use this online tool from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to locate and access electronic health records from a variety of sources.
  • Have a plan for children with disabilities and people who may have difficulty in unfamiliar or chaotic environments.

Adapted from Ready.Gov. For more, visit Ready.Gov.

Besides basic survival supplies, an emergency kit should have items to meet individual needs in various emergencies. Consider the items used on a daily basis and which ones you may need to add to your kit.

For more on what to include for those who are:

  • deaf and hard of hearing
  • blind or have low vision
  • those with a speech disability
  • those with mobility considerations
  • those with a sensory disability

Please visit Ready.Gov and review recommended items for each case.

Get Help

Kitsap County uses Functional Assessment Service Teams to help people with access and functional needs during emergencies, including children with special needs.  Email KCDEM for more details.

Severe Weather Shelters run by the county during periods of sustained cold weather are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Cooling stations may or may not be ADA compliant, check with KCDEM in advance.


KCDEM holds public programs on emergency preparedness.  Visit our Speakers Bureau to schedule a presentation.  Also, KCDEM holds regular classes on topics of interest to the general public.  See our events calendar for details. 


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