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School Safety and Students with Disabilities

Resources for Safe Schools Related to Individuals with Disabilities


  • Saving Lives: Including People with Disabilities in Emergency Planning: This report provides an overview of steps that should be taken to build a solid and resilient infrastructure that will enable the government to include the diverse populations of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness, disaster relief, and homeland security programs.
  • Effective Communications for People With Disabilities: Before, During, and After Emergencies, National Council on Disability While this document is more community focused, it is comprehensive in nature and offers several outstanding resources for planning to assist people with disabilities during emergency situations.
  • 2016 Office of Disability Integration and Coordination Fact Sheet: The Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC) increases FEMA’s ability to support inclusive emergency management practices for individuals with disabilities.
  • The Comprehensive School Safety Guide (Minnesota): This is the most complete guide to planning for emergency situations in schools that we could find. Specifically, pages 61-63 identify clear practices for preparing students with disabilities for emergency situations.
  • Information Related to Autism for First Responders: For individuals with autism, learning to interact with first responders is critical. On the other hand, it is just as essential for first responders to understand autism and be prepared to respond effectively and safely to situations that arise involving individuals on the spectrum.
    • Information for Law Enforcement: Police are trained to respond to a crisis situation with a certain protocol, but this protocol may not always be the best way to interact with individuals with autism. Because police are usually the first to respond to an emergency, it is critical that these officers have a working knowledge of autism, and the wide variety of behaviors individuals with autism can exhibit in emergency situations.
    • Information for Firefighters: The proper training and knowledge of autism spectrum disorders will help the fire fighters to deal with the emergency in the most successful way. With the correct information and preparation regarding autism spectrum disorders, these fire fighters will be more equipped to rescue these individuals and ensure their safety.
  • Evacuation of People with Disability and Emergent Limitations: Provides comprehensive guidance for people to assist in planning for people of all different backgrounds including checklists and guidance documents.
  • Evacuating the Special Needs Population: Provides a list of items to consider in plans for evacuating people with special needs of all ages.