Hawkes Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group

With Disabilities

People with disabilities

If you have a disability, make arrangements with a family member, friend, or neighbour to help you in an emergency.

People with hearing impairment may not be well served by radio. Make arrangements to be sure somebody informs you.

People with sight impairment may have difficulties if their home is disrupted - perhaps in an earthquake - and may have extra difficulties in an unfamiliar civil defence centre. You should arrange some form of buddy system.

People with asthma and other respiratory disorders may be especially affected by stress, dust or volcanic ash. Have plenty of medicines and face-masks in your emergency survival kit.

People with a physical disability or mobility impairment will need to take different actions in an earthquake as ground-shaking will make it difficult or impossible for you to move any distance. 

  • If you cannot safely get under a table, move near an inside wall of the building away from windows and tall items that can fall on you.
  • Cover your head and neck as best you can. 
  • Lock your wheels if you are in a wheelchair.
  • In bed, pull the sheets and blankets over you and use your pillow to protect your head and neck.

        The attached brochure outlines the best advice with photographs.

If you have special food needs, be sure to include as much as you can in your emergency survival kit.

If you need mobility aids, insist on bringing your aid if you are evacuated. Moving to safety is fine, but you won't want to be helpless when you get there.

Preparing Plans

The purpose of planning is to ensure that the whether you are running an Care Facility, or a rest home which supports those with disabilities, you can provide for the safety of residents, patients, and staff as far as possible in any emergency incident.

You can refer to the national Ministry of Health guides: 

National Health Emergency Plan: Guiding Principles for Emergency Management Planning in the Health and Disability Sector dated 2005 http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/national-health-emergency-plan-guiding-principles-emergency-management-planning-health-and
Emergency management, disaster planning and business continuity in primary care.  http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/emergency-management/emergency-management-disaster-planning-and-business-continuity-primary-care

Learn more

You can learn more at the National Civil Defence website.

The Foundation of the Blind has worked with Civil Defence to ensure civil defence information is available in a range of formats, including e-text, DAISY talking books, audio CDs and cassettes, and Braille. The information is also offered on the Foundation’s Telephone Information Service. For further information on how the blind community can access the various formats, please contact the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.

The National Foundation for the Deaf has worked with Civil Defence to ensure civil defence information is available on the hazards we face in New Zealand and advice on what to do to be better prepared. The information is presented in both sign language and captions. The resource is distributed through Deaf Aotearoa and the National Foundation for the Deaf.

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