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Supporting Special Needs and Vulnerable Populations in Disasters

If disaster strikes, is your community prepared to assist people with disabilities, people who speak little or no English, and people who are frail, elderly, very young, or homeless?

If the answer is "no" or "don’t know," maybe you could learn from a coalition in California, known as Community Collaborative Groups.

Their common bond is a commitment to meeting the emergency preparedness needs of vulnerable, high risk or special needs populations in a state that has had repeated earthquakes, fires, floods, hazardous material spills and other emergencies.

Frequent disasters in California have provided the opportunity to develop, refine, test and validate the important role of the Community Collaborative Groups in serving vulnerable populations. These include groups that cannot comfortably or safely access and use the standard resources offered in traditional disaster preparedness, relief and recovery.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the California Office of Emergency Services developed a PrepareNow website to help these special needs and high risk groups and the community agencies that serve them.

The site has disaster preparedness information in nine languages — English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog (Filipino), Punjabi (Indian), Portuguese and Chinese.

For more information, visit the PrepareNow site.

September 2000