First Responder Resources

Emergency Resources for Supporting People with Disabilities and Other Unique Needs

Designed for Municipalities, First Responders, and CERTs as well as People with Disabilities and Their Families, Friends, Assistants, and Other Support Providers.

The emergency resources for emergency responders are:

  1. A Communication Aid for Emergency Personnel This flipbook provides communication strategies for addressing the needs of people who do not communicate through speech to express themselves and/or to understand what is being said to them. Aids include an emergency QWERTY board for typing, pain charts, sign language basics, and icon-based options. It can be printed out and hung inside emergency vehicles for easy reference on the job.
  2. Tips for Emergency Personnel: Supporting People with Unique Access or Functional Needs This flipbook was developed so that Emergency Personnel who are unfamiliar with different types of access and functional needs, especially experienced by people with disabilities. In addition to General Interaction Guidelines (often referred to as “Disability Etiquette”), each disability or responsibility category addresses Possible Access/Functional Challenges, Unique Interaction Guidelines, “Look for/Take with equipment and supplies”, and Cross references for people who may experience multiple challenges.​
  3. A self-advocacy tool for individuals with disabilities, their families and support providers, Prep is Personal Checklist This is a comprehensive tool that can be completed for any individual with a  disability and posted on their refrigerator because this is where emergency responders tend to look first when entering someone’s home in an emergency. Users are advised to complete only the pages that apply to their unique access and function needs.

You can access our resources by clicking on the highlighted or the links to the right. Families, friends, assistants, and other support providers are strongly urged to share these resources with Emergency Personnel in their own towns.

More about this Project

The Communication Flipbook was produced to meet the requirements of CT P.A. 19-147 and funded by The University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities through cooperative agreement #90DDUC0071-01-00 with the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Materials and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities or the Department of Health and Human Service's position or policy.

The other materials were developed by The University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities through a previous cooperative agreement with the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They were part of a project called “Prep is Personal: Find the Fridge” that was funded through a grant from the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities.

During the first year of the grant, UCEDD staff compiled existing emergency information from a variety of sources including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), multiple state agencies, private organizations, and individuals with disabilities and their family members. Project staff also met with others involved in Emergency Management (which includes mitigation, response, and recovery in addition to preparedness) many of which were groups that were formed following several severe weather-related disasters in CT over the last decade. It was during one of these meetings that the project was renamed “Prep is Personal: Find the Fridge.”

During the second year of the grant, project staff developed the materials listed above as well as Emergency Management Curriculum, A Comprehensive Emergency Management Training Curriculum Addressing Unique Access and Functional Needs. A number of community based trainings using this curriculum were held in that year in conjunction with the State Independent Living Council. Subsequently, presentations have also been made to community employers, first responders and municipal emergency management personnel, regional emergency response teams, and individuals with disabilities and their families.


For more information about these materials or training, contact Tara Lutz, Director of Training or Linda Rammler, Developmental Disabilities Network Coordinator, at the UConn UCEDD.