Evacuation & Transportation

Access & Functional Needs
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When local evacuations become necessary, considerations for the whole community including accessible transportation options, medical needs, and keeping individuals connected with their families, personal care providers, essential equipment & technologies, and service animals are important. Proper planning is essential to a successful evacuation. Emergency evacuation plans should be viewed as living documents because communities change and integrating the needs of people with AFN is a dynamic process. Emergency managers with their local communities should regularly practice, review, revise, and update their plans to reflect changes in technology, personnel, and procedures.




Implementing a large-scale evacuation and meeting the transportation needs of people with access and functional needs is a major challenge – a challenge that can be met through an inclusive planning process beginning long before a major disaster prompts an evacuation. Planning should include everyone from transit providers and emergency managers to advocacy groups, licensed care facilities, first responders, hospitals, schools, nonprofit organizations and people with access and functional needs themselves.


Evacuation and Transportation Planning Guidance

The California Department of Transportation - "Transit Emergency Planning Guide" and the companion "Technical Appendices" is a synthesis of industry best-practices for transit emergency preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery.

Consider the following in your evacuation and transportation planning:

  • Do plans identify how individuals with access and functional needs will be evacuated from their community
  • What plans currently exist and are multiple entities dependent on the same provider(s)? Are protocols or memorandums of understanding/agreement (MOU/MOA)in place to avoid confusion when accessing and deploying assets?
  • Do plans identify the transportation providers that will be responsible for and have the capacity to move individuals with access and functional needs from schools, neighborhoods, medical facilities, nursing facilities, etc.?
  • Are disability and older adult transportation providers incorporated into evacuation plans (including the use of vehicles, drivers and dispatch)?
  • Do drills/exercises incorporate first responders, accessible transportation providers and people with access and functional needs as victims?


Evacuation plans for people with access and functional needs must be integrated into local government emergency plans to ensure that evacuations are well coordinated.

To assist with transportation emergency planning and MOU/MOA development, checkout Caltrans "Transit Emergency Planning Guide" and the companion "Technical Appendices."



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