ASTM E2951 - 13(2020)e1

    Standard Guide for Community Emergency Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities

    Active Standard ASTM E2951 | Developed by Subcommittee: E54.02

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.08

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    Significance and Use

    4.1 This guide provides recommendations for the local or regional AHJ to use in dealing with persons with disabilities who reside within their area of responsibility or jurisdiction. It provides information that can support development of procedures and protocols in preparing for the impact of emergencies on persons with disabilities, and it includes recommendations addressing such actions as:

    4.1.1 Notification—Alerts and warnings for the general public of a pending emergency, and any additional provisions that may be necessary to assure that persons with disabilities are able to receive the message(s).

    4.1.2 Communications—Information dissemination to the community, including provisions for persons with disabilities so that they are able to receive and respond.

    4.1.3 Preparation—Ensuring that the community knows about the risks and dangers inherent in emergencies and the necessity for personal planning.

    4.1.4 Action and Mitigation—Steps that should be taken when an emergency becomes imminent, and planning in advance how to minimize its impact on the community.

    4.1.5 Evacuation—The process of relocating to a safer area to avoid or lessen the risks associated with an emergency. Generally, evacuation actions are initiated or recommended by local emergency management officials.

    4.1.6 Transportation—Transportation applies to all persons who need to evacuate or relocate in advance of or during an emergency. It may include transportation on his or her own, through a neighbor, a volunteer who can assist, or public conveyances that can be used in an emergency.

    4.1.7 Accommodation—Designated centers or shelters that the local citizens can use in an emergency, and any additional provisions that are made for addressing the needs of those with disabilities.

    4.1.8 Relocation—Facilities where residents can evacuate to before and during an emergency. It may also provide temporary lodging for residents following an event if their homes are in an unsafe area or no longer habitable.

    4.1.9 Restoration—The resumption of normalcy following an emergency.

    4.2 The AHJ should assign a person to the OEM with responsibility for coordinating and otherwise implementing protocols and procedures for persons with disabilities. This individual should be identified as the OEM Disabilities Coordinator. The functions assigned to the Coordinator should include:

    4.2.1 Establishing and leading a team of volunteers who are trained in assisting persons with disabilities, and who can support their integration into the planning and preparedness process.

    4.2.2 Establishing a small team of volunteers with disabilities to serve as a panel or group of subject matter experts to provide advice and guidance on issues surrounding persons with disabilities in emergency situations.

    4.2.3 Establishing an agreement, pact, contract, or other binding document with other jurisdictions to provide mutual aid or assistance in dealing with persons with disabilities should it become necessary before, during, or following an emergency.

    4.2.4 The following key concerns should be addressed by individual teams dedicated to the specific areas indicated. However, due to staffing limitations, OEMs may not have the necessary resources needed to establish the number of individual teams listed. In those instances, the OEM should combine efforts, creating fewer teams, but at the same time making sure that the different areas are covered as fully as possible. The OEM should also consider calling upon social service agencies to provide some of the support in those instances when staffing limitations prevent OEM from doing so. The recommended teams are listed below: Alert and Notification Team—Working in close coordination with officials involved in local incident command, public information dissemination and other appropriate staff in the emergency response chain of command, the Alert and Notification Team would assist in:

    (1) Alert and notification for persons with disabilities of a pending emergency. Communications should include such information as (a) Assessment of hazards and dangers to persons with disabilities; (b) Mobility risks; (c) Anticipated emergency response activities and timeline; (d) Evacuation and sheltering accommodations for the general public and information on how well they are equipped for the needs of those with disabilities; and (e) Anticipated vulnerabilities for the type of pending emergency for persons with disabilities.

    (2) Assisting local emergency management officials in providing a “call down” procedure that can be immediately activated to notify the community of a pending emergency. This call down procedure would consider various media such as telephone, television, radio, or other appropriate means. It would work in concert with other alerting media and messaging.

    (3) Prepare, in advance, appropriate messages and delivery means regarding hazards and dangers for the various types of disabilities.

    (4) Periodically test and randomly implement the alert and notification procedure. Communications Team—As an essential element of the alert and notification process, and to facilitate initial and ongoing communications, this team would consist of volunteers well versed in the various communications methods for persons with disabilities in order to communicate with them as quickly as possible before and during an emergency. The Communications Team leadership should focus on the following actions and activities:

    (1) Identifying and recruiting staff and volunteers qualified in sign language and interpreting, transcription services, and vendors that can convert documents into Braille, large print type, and electronic formats.

    (2) Taking steps to ensure that all appropriate team members are trained and experienced in the use of appropriate emergency communications.

    (3) Ensure that 911, 311, and other call stations are equipped with a TTY/TTD or computer equivalent.

    (4) Including in the operations procedures a policy statement and procedures on how caregivers and responders can ensure effective communications with persons having sight or hearing impairment, language, or other limitations.

    (5) Assuring that the entire team is equipped with communications devices so that persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who have similar impairments, can communicate.

    (6) Providing auxiliary aids and capabilities needed to support communications, including pen and paper, sign language interpreters, and interpretation aids for persons who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, or have speech impairments. Those individuals who are blind, deaf-blind, have low vision, or have cognitive or intellectual disabilities may need large print information or people to assist them. Advance Preparations Team—The central focus of this team would be to organize support for persons with disabilities. This would include providing plans and preparations for those who are mobile as well as those who are confined to their home or an institution, such as an independent living center. This volunteer support effort may include an individual to provide initial assistance and a caregiver to render more comprehensive aid as appropriate.

    (1) The Advance Preparations Team must recognize that persons with disabilities have a variety of access and functional requirements, including the need for mobility aids, requirements for medication, the need for portable medical equipment, dependence on service animals or various personal assistance services.

    (2) The Advance Preparations Team should make sure that its members know how to take the necessary mitigating actions for those with disabilities while also removing themselves from danger.

    (3) The Advance Preparations Team should ensure that those with disabilities receive the same benefits from emergency programs, services, and activities as those not having disabilities. The team should encourage emergency planning that focuses on both individual and community preparation, crisis recovery, and remediation. It should emphasize whole community, inclusiveness, integration, preservation of dignity, and independence by providing the same choices for persons with disabilities as those provided for persons without disabilities before, during, and after a disaster.

    (4) The Advance Preparations Team should create and maintain a list of all caregivers and other volunteers who could rally to the aid of persons with disabilities to assist them in the event of an emergency. Action Mitigation Team—This team should work to ensure that mitigating actions are identified and executed in advance of an emergency in order to minimize the effect on persons with disabilities. The team should work with communities, first responders, law enforcement, and caregivers to identify those actions that need to be taken to help mitigate the harmful effects of the event. Evacuation Team—Before an emergency occurs, the Evacuation Team should assist in urging all citizens, and in particular those with disabilities, to relocate because of the dangers that may be forthcoming. In doing so, the team would also assist local first responders and law enforcement personnel in making sure that the local citizens were made aware of evacuation orders and procedures.

    (1) The team should assist law enforcement and other professional personnel in contacting persons with disabilities at home, at their place of business, or other places they may be to encourage adherence to evacuation orders.

    (2) The team should coordinate with the Transportation Team leader and the team’s volunteers in assigning and loading vehicles to transport persons with disabilities to the appropriate evacuation center or location. Transportation Team—In advance of a disaster or emergency, and working with local emergency response officials, the Transportation Team should be responsible for assuring that persons with disabilities are transported to a safer location such as a shelter or, after an event, to temporary locations where they can receive the necessary care and support.

    (1) The team should maintain a list and have agreements in place with persons owning vehicles that can transport one or more passengers with disabilities. Those identified should be “on call” when a disaster or emergency strikes or is anticipated.

    (2) The team should have emergency support and, as appropriate, mutual aid agreements in place with all sources of buses and vehicles that can be used in transporting persons with disabilities.

    (3) The team should assure that drivers who will be used to transport persons with disabilities are registered in a first responder category and have taken any required training and tests (see 7.1.5). Accommodation Team—This team, which may also be identified as a “shelter team,” should ensure an integrated relocation environment consisting of services such as short and long term sheltering, information intake, processing, and necessities to keep persons with disabilities connected with support systems. The team should focus on items such as:

    (1) Sleeping and treatment arrangements that would include disability “user friendly” cots or beds appropriately sized with privacy screens, eating arrangements including canned or boxed meals, appropriate dietary beverages plus storage, preparation, collecting, and disposing equipment.

    (2) Identifying and establishing the appropriate public evacuation centers that provide adequate accommodations for persons with disabilities, including needs related to mobility, prescription medication, ambulation, and eating and hygiene facilities and equipment. The use of mobile shelter resources, if locally available, may be a suitable alternative if stationary or other adequate shelters are not available.

    (3) Maintaining a record of all public or other potential evacuation locations equipped to support those with disabilities. Relocation Team—This team, which should consist of volunteers, would be prepared to implement the following services for people with disabilities:

    (1) Identify, in advance if possible, a list of possible sites for displaced persons to be relocated to on a more permanent basis following an emergency.

    (2) Provide counseling services to those displaced on how to cope with the loss of their home, family, friends, pets, neighbors, the community, and professional resources.

    (3) Provide assistance in contacting existing or new medical and health care professionals, and with a means for obtaining medicine and other pharmaceutical needs.

    (4) Provide assistance to those persons displaced for an extended period in making arrangements to contact professional legal, financial, or other institutions such as insurance providers.

    (5) Provide assistance in early planning for rebuilding their homes or businesses or relocating elsewhere.

    (6) Assist in shopping for necessities in locations of close proximity to their relocation facility.

    (7) Work with personnel and volunteers that can assist with social, recreational, and therapeutic opportunities, including aligning displaced persons with faith leaders and congregations, therapists, caregivers, and other support individuals.

    (8) Work with local school district personnel, volunteers, higher education personnel, and other educators in counseling and teaching displaced persons in ways that might be vocationally beneficial.

    (9) Arrange with local moving and storage companies “salvaging” and protection of items from the displaced persons’ homes and businesses. Restoration Team—This team, also identified possibly as a “transition team,” should consist of volunteers who would assist persons with disabilities in adjusting to the post-emergency environment. This could include:

    (1) Providing assistance in locating and establishing new caregivers, home aids, and other support individuals to monitor persons with disabilities in their former home or at their new location.

    (2) Acquainting persons with disabilities with new surroundings, methods of transportation, banking facilities, shopping, houses of worship, and other daily living activities.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide is intended to be used by an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to initiate preparedness efforts that address issues that the disability community have faced in past emergencies and systematically coupling them with methodologies that will help communities enhance their chances for survival.

    1.2 This guide does not purport to address all of the elements necessary to prepare for an emergency. It is the responsibility of the user (AHJ) of this guide to establish applicable protocols, procedures, systems, and other means to support the health, safety, and well being of persons with disabilities.

    1.3 This guide is intended to provide templates for applicable protocols, procedures, systems, and other mechanisms to promote an integrated approach in local “preparedness” efforts for persons with disabilities. It is intended to complement the planning and preparedness efforts of local emergency responders—Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs) and Offices of Emergency Management (OEM)—for persons with disabilities.

    1.4 This guide is not intended to supersede or replace extant Federal, Tribal, State, or local policies, regulations, laws, or criteria, or standards and guides produced by any other entity, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

    1.5 This guide is intended for an AHJ, whether a governmental agency, non-profit, private organization, or other entity involved in the preparedness planning for persons with disabilities.

    1.6 This guide recognizes that the ADA addresses all services and facilities pertinent to the access and care of persons with disabilities, including those associated with emergencies. It also recognizes that the Stafford Act and Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act, along with Federal, State, and Local Civil Rights Laws, mandate integration, inclusion, coordination, and non-segregation for people with disabilities in emergency programs, services, and activities.

    1.7 This guide is intended to assist those involved in emergency preparedness for persons with disabilities in order to help them better understand the concepts of accessibility and equal opportunity in such important areas as alert and notification, evacuation, shelter management, etc., before, during, and after an event.

    1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.9 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ANSI Standard

    Emergency Preparedness for Persons with Disabiliti

    Other Documents

    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

    Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-8 National Preparedness

    FEMA Standard

    Guidance on Planning for the Integration of Functi November 2010

    NFPA Standard

    NFPA 1600

    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 11.180.01 (Aids for disabled or handicapped persons in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code

    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/E2951-13R20E01

    Citation Format

    ASTM E2951-13(2020)e1, Standard Guide for Community Emergency Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2020,

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