Access & Functional Needs: Disabilities


Special Needs

Disability is not about a specific group of people. Disability is about a specific time in the life of each and every one of us. For some it may be temporary, for others it may last much longer. As a society, we have mistakenly adopted a mindset that divides us into two groups, “able-bodied” and “disabled.” The fact is that we all may be part of the disability community for some time in our lives.” - National Fire Protection Agency, June 2007

The Federal Emergency Management Agency National Response Framework says special needs populations may have additional needs before, during and after an incident in functional areas, such as:

  • Maintaining independence
  • Communication
  • Transportation
  • Supervision
  • Medical care

Special Needs Registry

The Special Needs Registry program allows organizations and residents with medical needs an opportunity to provide information to the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management so that responder agencies can better respond with appropriate resources to our vulnerable, at risk and hard-to-reach residents.

The information collected will not be available to the public and will only be shared with Fairfax County responder and partner agencies and organizations in order to improve our ability to serve and protect residents with access and functional needs.

Medical Needs RegistryMedical Needs Registry - This registry is for individuals with ongoing medical needs. Fairfax County defines a person with medical needs as a person who has a high-risk health condition that is either temporary or chronic who cannot manage for themselves in a shelter or evacuation center and will require assistance in performing the activities of daily living and/or will require care for and the monitoring of a health condition. For example: people with mobility impairment; people with a condition which make them dependent on electricity; people with medical conditions that will require additional support during emergencies.

Social Needs RegistrySocial Needs Registry - This registry is for organizations that provide services to residents who may need assistance, but do not have ongoing medical needs. Social needs include individual who are vulnerable, at-risk, or hard to reach in the event of an emergency. These people are known to assistance organizations and may require targeted communication, transportation support, or sheltering in the event of an emergency.

Tips for Residents with Disabilities

  • Make an emergency plan that is specific to your needs, including;
    • an evacuation plan that includes transporting personal medical devices
    • a communications plan that identifies multiple emergency contacts, for family, caregivers, doctors, and equipment suppliers
    • identifies where to go in an emergency, both a neighborhood as well as an out of region evacuation location
    • identifies how you will get there (via car, family or friend, public transit)
    • who you can call for non-life threatening assistance, or call 9-1-1 for emergency help
  • Make a basic emergency supply kit that you can take with you, including;
    • medications and photocopies of prescriptions
    • copies of important insurance documents (home, life, auto, and medical)
    • important identification, such as driver license, insurance cards, credit cards
    • your list of medications, as well as doctor and pharmacy information, should be kept in a waterproof bag
    • a copy of medical device information (style and serial numbers), warranty, and service support information
    • eyeglasses and prescription
    • hearing aids and extra batteries
    • oxygen, or
    • assistive technologies
  • Similarly, if appropriate, the plan and kit should include any food, supplies and veterinary documents needed by a service animal or pets.
  • Keep a backup list of emergency information, including contacts, medications, medical device information, and doctor telephone numbers, in another location such as a friend’s home or with a trusted family member.

Related Information




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