FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination defines the term “others with Access and Functional Needs” (AFN) as individuals who may have additional needs before, during and after an incident in functional areas, including but not limited to maintaining independence, communication, transportation, supervision, and maintain health (C-MIST). Individuals in need of additional response assistance may include those who have disabilities; live in institutionalized settings, are seniors; are children; are from diverse cultures; have limited English proficiency or are non-English speaking; or are transportation disadvantaged.”

The California Government Code Section 8593.3 defines Access and Functional Needs as “Individuals who have: Developmental, intellectual, or physical disabilities; Chronic conditions or injuries; Limited English proficiency or non-English speaking; Or individuals who are: older adults, children, or pregnant; living in institutional settings; or Low-income, homeless, and/or transportation disadvantaged.”

The Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is an alignment with both FEMA and the California Government Code Section 8593.3 and uses the C-MIST framework to integrate vulnerable populations in all aspects of Emergency Management.


Individuals with communication needs have limited or no ability to speak, see, hear, or understand. During an emergency, people with communication needs may not be able to hear announcements, see signs, understand messages, or verbalize their concerns.


Resources to Help Narrow the Gap

Sign up for AlertSCC, the County of Santa Clara’s official emergency alert and warning system.

Ready in your language: Ready offers information and materials in languages other than English. You can learn about how to prepare before, during and after disasters, including making an emergency plan, building an emergency supply kit, and preparing for individual hazards.

The Listos California campaign encourages everyone to be ready for disasters and has information in multiple languages.

Download FEMA's Be Aware. Be Prepared. Take Action: A Guide for Alert and Warnings to learn more about the actions you can take to prepare for emergencies or disasters.

The Guide to Disaster Assistance Services for Immigrants provides detailed information about the types of federal, state, and local disaster assistance services available in California and in Santa Clara County.

The Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations has compiled the Disaster Aid Resources for Immigrants to help immigrant families residing in Santa Clara County find support services.

FEMA Non-Citizen National: You May Be Able to Get Disaster Assistance may allow FEMA and state, territory or tribal government to provide direct and financial assistance to U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, and qualified aliens during a disaster.

For those who are blind and visually impaired, download the Emergency Preparedness and People who are Blind and Visually Impaired: A Handbook for the Consumer

Download An Earthquake Preparedness Guide for Blind & Visually Impaired Persons brochure.

Learn more on how to prepare your whole family from disasters by downloading the Saving the Whole Family: Disaster Preparedness. 


Ready.gov: Personal Disaster Preparedness for People with Disabilities social media Toolkit. Español. The toolkit contains personal disaster preparedness videos to share with individuals that use Wheelchairs, are hard or hearing, and/or blind.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Disaster Distress Helpline: Provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.  Call or text 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Language Assistance in Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, Russian, Haitian Creole, French, Polish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Japanese, Farsi and Spanish by clicking here. For ASL click here.

Santa Clara County Behavioral health Crisis Hotline 24/7 with multi-language: 1-855-278-4204 or text RENEW to 741741

Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs: This publication was developed by the American Red Cross in collaboration with FEMA to provide tips and guidance for millions of Americans who have physical, medical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities.

Ready: Individuals with Disabilities: Get Informed and Plan: Personal Disaster Preparedness for individuals with Mobility Disability, are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, have a Speech Disability, Alzheimer’s, and Related Dementia, are Blind or have low vision.

Infant Feeding in Disasters and Emergencies: Breastfeeding and Other Options

American Red Cross: Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors: A brochure created by senior for senior to take responsibility and prepare now for a sudden emergency.

American Red Cross: Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults: information targeted to seniors that will help them prepare for disasters and emergencies. Español

Diabetes Care During Emergencies

Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialist: Diabetes Emergency Preparedness

Alzheimer’s Association Emergency Preparedness checklist

National Cancer institute: Emergency Resources for the Cancer Community

CDC: Disaster Safety for Expecting and New Parents

Food Safety for Infants After a Natural Disaster. Español

CDC: How to care for children in a disaster. Español

Disaster Preparedness Tips for Families Affected by Autism

Autism Speaks Natural Disaster Resources

PG & E: Emergency Planning Tips for People who rely on electric or battery dependent medical devices

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Preparing for Emergencies: A Guide to People with Dialysis

Fire Safety Outreach Materials for People with Disabilities


Family Voices…Keeping families at the center of children’s health care: Are you Ready? Preparing for Emergencies: Tips for Families

FEMA Accessible: CDC Helping Children with Disabilities During an Emergency YouTube video.

Ready: Kids Website: contains a resource library, games, tips, and guidance on how to prepare children, young adults, educators, and organizations during a disaster.

Ready: Helping Children Cope: Guidance to help kids cope with their emotions during a disaster.

American Academy of Pediatrics: Talking with Children About Disasters

Academia de Pediátricas Americanas: Como hablar con los niños sobre los desastres

American Academy of Pediatrics: How Families Can cope with Relocation and Stress After a Disaster

Academia de Pediátricas Americana: Como pueden las familias sobrellevar el estrés de una reubicación después de una catástrofe

American Red Cross: Teaching kids about Emergency Preparedness

Cruz Roja Americana: Ensenar a los niños a prepararse para las emergencias

CDC: Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults, including COVID-19

Ready: Seniors

Ready: Preparing Makes Sense for Older Americans Video

6 Tips on How Older Adults Can Prepare for a Disaster


Emergency Preparedness in Assisted Living Brochure: A comprehensive preparedness planning resources to help Assisted Living communities meet the needs of residents during a natural disaster or other emergency.

As an individual with a disability with a service animal, what should I do to be ready in an emergency?

Alzheimer’s Association Emergency preparedness: Caring for persons living with dementia in a long-term or community-based care setting

Pet Disaster Kit Checklist

Pet Boarding Instructions

California Department of Aging: Emergency & Disaster Preparedness Resource Guide

Emergency Preparedness Tips for Those with Functional Needs

Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs

Resources for People with Disabilities and their Caregivers

Home Health Emergency Preparedness: A handbook to Assist Home Health Care Providers in Emergency Preparedness Planning

CADRE’s Special Instructions Checklist

PG & E Medical Baseline Program




Local Resources for Emergency Managers

2022 Santa Clara County Community Social Services Resource Guide: List of community resources available to all Santa Clara County populations.

County of Santa Clara Office of Immigrant Relations: Disaster Assistance Services for Immigrants

Bay Area UASI’s Critical Transportation Toolkit

CADRE’s Accessible Emergency Information

CADRE’s Best Video Conferencing Apps & Software for Accessibility-The Big Hack


State AFN Resource for Emergency Managers

Cal OES Office of Access and Functional Needs Program: The Office of Access and Functional Needs utilizes a whole community approach by offering training and guidance to emergency managers and planners, disability advocates and other service providers responsible for planning for, responding to and helping communities recover from disasters.

California Access and Functional Needs Viewer

June Isaacson Kailes, Disability Policy Consultant Website includes resource library available to Emergency Managers.

Transit Cooperative Research Program: Paratransit Emergency Preparedness and Operations Handbook


Federal AFN Resources for Emergency Managers

FEMA: Emergency Planning with Children: Strategies on how to create a successful Youth Emergency Preparedness Program.

Post Disaster Reunification of Children: A Nationwide Approach

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service: Disaster Preparedness for Migrant Communities: A Manual for First Responders

American Academy of Pediatrics: Prioritizing High Risk Groups in Disaster Planning:

Public Health Emergency: Cultural and Linguistic Competency in Disaster Preparedness and Response Fact Sheet

U.S. Department of Justice: An ADA Guide for Local Governments. Making Community Emergency Preparedness and Response Programs Accessible to People with Disabilities

FEMA: Emergency Planning for People with Access & Functional Needs Video.

Insulin Switching Guide

Access and Functional needs Toolkit

CDC: Disability and Health Emergency Preparedness Assessment. Español

National Council on Disability: Preserving our Freedom: Ending Institutionalization of People with Disabilities During and After Disasters

ADA Service Dog Laws

How to interact with a Service Dog

The Partnership Services Catalogue

Suggested Strategies for Emergency Communication for People with Disabilities

Positions Statement for Emergency Communications with People with Disabilities

What is the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies?

Language Guidelines Inclusive Emergency Management

Accessibility settings are now easier to access on Docs, Sheets, and slides

Guidelines for Creating Accessible Meetings and Events

Create Accessible Digital Products

Certified interpreter List: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

AFN Alerts in ASL Flow chart

United Spinal Association: Disability Etiquette




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