People With Special Needs

People with special needs may include individuals:
In need of additional response assistance who have disabilities
  • Who live in institutionalized settings
  • Who are elderly
  • Who are unaccompanied children
  • Who are from diverse cultures
  • Who have limited English proficiency
  • Who are non-English speaking
  • Who are transportation disadvantaged
They have typically exhausted all other resources (family, neighbors, public transportation, etc.) and still need assistance for evacuation and/or sheltering before, during, and possibly after a disaster or emergency. These individuals typically reside in single homes or multiple family dwellings in the state and are not residents of hospitals, residential health care facilities, or any community-based residences or services that are already subject to emergency planning requirements.

Personal Preparedness
The first line of defense against the effects of a disaster is personal preparedness.

Plan for Individuals With Special Needs
Being prepared for emergencies can reduce the fear, panic, and inconvenience that surrounds a disaster.

During an emergency, the government and other agencies may not be able to meet your needs. It is important for all citizens to make their own emergency plans and prepare for their own care and safety in an emergency.

Learn More About Register Ready
Individuals can become enrolled in a free, voluntary New Jersey Special Needs Registry. The program is strictly confidential, protective of your privacy, and a way to protect you in a major emergency. It is designed to help emergency responders locate and safely evacuate people who could find it difficult to help themselves in the event of a major disaster, such as a hurricane. Individuals should be registered in the program if he/she finds it difficult to get to safety with family or friends, or to a public shelter during an emergency evacuation because of a physical or cognitive limitation, language barrier, or transportation. In order to register for the New Jersey Special Needs Registry, please do any of the following:
  • Log on to New Jersey Register Ready website
  •   Call 211, toll free (also for translation, and TTY/TDD services)
  • Call the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management at 609-463-6570
For more information, please visit the New Jersey Register Ready website.

Check for Hazards in the Home
During and right after a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury or damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause fire is a home hazard. Check for items such as bookcases, hanging pictures, or overhead lights that could fall in an earthquake or a flood and block an escape path.

Create a Self-help Network of Relatives, Friends or Co-workers to Assist in an Emergency
If you think you may need assistance in a disaster, discuss your disability with relatives, friends, and co-workers and ask for their help. For example, if you need help moving or require special arrangements to receive emergency messages, make a plan with friends. Make sure they know where you keep emergency supplies. Give a key to a neighbor or friend who may be able to assist you in a disaster.
  • Contact your local emergency management office now. Many local emergency management offices maintain registers of people with disabilities so they can be located and assisted quickly in a disaster.
  • Wearing medical alert tags or bracelets to identify your disability may help in case of an emergency.
  • Know the location and availability of more than 1 facility if you are dependent on a dialysis machine or other life-sustaining equipment or treatment.
If You Have a Severe Speech, Language, or Hearing Disability
  • When you dial 911, tap space bar to indicate TDD call.
  • Store a writing pad and pencils to communicate with others.
  • Keep a flashlight handy to signal whereabouts to other people and for illumination to aid in communication.
  • Remind friends that you cannot completely hear warnings or emergency instructions. Ask them to be your source of emergency information as it comes over their radio.
  • If you have a hearing ear dog, be aware that the dog may become confused or disoriented in an emergency. Store extra food, water and supplies for your dog.
If You Need a Wheelchair
Show friends how to operate your wheelchair so they can move you if necessary. Make sure your friends know the size of your wheelchair in case it has to be transported.