Emergency Evacuation of a Person with Mobility Limitations

In an impending emergency (power outage, flooding, fire, tornado) it is essential to have a safety plan in mind, but this is especially crucial for people who have mobility issues, medical needs, or are undergoing physical therapy.

If a family member has a condition that requires extra needs, the people close to him should keep a few things in mind in case of an emergency.

Have a plan as a family

Supply bag

Supply bag

First, have a plan worked out with all household members for any emergency. Have one person in charge of the person with mobility issues while another can be in charge of or grabbing the emergency supplies bag. Make sure all family members know where the family meets in the event of a disaster, and in the event of an evacuation. The youngest children should be taught Grandma’s address or phone number as soon as they’re old enough, or it should be written or stored in something they’re likely to have with them. In the case of toddlers, an emergency number can be written in their shoe.

Have supplies

Second, have a spare bag prepared. With this emergency bag include at least a few days of medication doses along with instructions for these medications along with the provider’s name and phone number who prescribed them. Generally, this is a patient’s general practitioner, so having that name and number handy is essential for any questions, or if the house is uninhabitable, there would be a way to get an emergency prescription so the patient will not miss any doses of medication. If the patient has diabetes, make sure that a glucometer and test strips are in this bag along with an emergency medication and treatment and insulin and insulin supplies (syringes, insulin pump supplies) if applicable. If the person needs other daily supplies (incontinence supplies, spare clothing, or other medical items for their immediate care) also pack spares of this in the bag. Ideally, this bag will carry essentials to last the person with a mobility issue for at least a day without containing everything in the medicine cabinet. Assuming one has a smartphone, make sure that and a spare charger is included. (Keep an extra charger in the bag). Most clinics and pharmacies use web-based sites to interact with their patients. Medication instructions, providers names and confidential email is included in these sites.

Preparation is Best

Third, prepare ahead of time, if possible. One cannot predict if a house fire or flood evacuation, but maintaining household equipment, keeping fire alarms up to code and working are useful tools to assist in avoiding a house fire. Also, watch weather reports and alerts. With today’s technology cell phones will even alarm if severe weather is approaching and a decision can be made ahead of time how to help that person with a lack of mobility stay safe. If travel is a necessity, prepare the person to get to a safe zone. If that person is in a wheelchair a friend’s house with multiple sets of stairs may not be the right safe area. Again, precautions should be made to take into account the limitations of the person in mind.


Fourth, also consider the mental state of the person. During an evacuation, the patient shouldn’t feel helpless or shuffled around. A concise, proactive plan and cooperation among family members will help the patient feel secure and not victimized by a lack of planning or poor communication.