Advice for disabled persons and carers

BSL translation and Easy Read text will be made available for this section in the coming weeks.

Some disabled people may need extra help to make sure they are safe during an emergency.

The information on this page can help disabled people plan for when an emergency happens. It builds on the get prepared for emergencies advice and sets out steps you can take if you have a disability or if you care for someone with a disability. 

General preparedness advice

There are actions that disabled people or their carers should consider taking to help support their specific needs. You should consider this in addition to the broader preparedness advice provided on the website.

Know how to access support

GOV.UK provides information about financial help you are entitled to if you are disabled or a carer, including how you may be able to access disability equipment. 

Be informed

  • Review the steps you can take in the get prepared for emergencies section of this website. Many of the activities can be helpful across a range of different types of emergencies. You might not be able to undertake all of these, but there are lots of suggestions that won’t cost anything and just take a few minutes to do.
  • Check online or with community groups in your area who might be able to provide additional advice about what to do in an emergency, such as the British Red Cross.

Let others know you could need support 

  • Talk to your friends, family, carers, neighbours and support network about your needs and how they might change in an emergency. 
  • Sign up to your local council and water, gas and electricity suppliers Priority Service Registers. You can contact your supplier directly, use the search tools provided by Ofgem to find your gas and electricity provider, or find out more by visiting
  • Make sure you let organisations supporting you know your new address as soon as possible if you move.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets and add relevant medical information to your electronic devices.
  • Users of telecare devices or other alerting services should be aware that their devices might not work without electricity or internet. Make a plan with a neighbour or someone else you trust to check on you in an emergency situation if they haven’t heard from you.
  • Speak to your workplace about additional support requirements. The responsible person for a business premises (typically the building owner or manager) has duties under fire safety law regarding emergency routes and exits from premises, and to support evacuation. One tool to support evacuation of people with mobility and other needs considerations is a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan. Employers are encouraged to consider their use for employees who may require them.

Make a plan

Making a personal plan helps bring together information about your day-to-day living support. It can help you, those who look after you, and the emergency services know what support you might need in an emergency, including if you were evacuated from your home. 

You should put your plan in an easily accessible place and tell your support network where to find it. Your plan might include:

  • A written down list of contacts and their numbers for people in your support network (or anyone who should be contacted) in an emergency. Include your carer and clinical care team (i.e your GP, pharmacy, hospital specialist, mental health support worker). 
  • Details of your regular medication and where it is stored. You should also ensure you have enough of the medication you need to keep you going for several days. Keep your medication in an easily accessible and memorable place. If you can, place your medication in a waterproof container (for example, a plastic food container).
  • Instructions for any medical devices or equipment you rely on. If you have them, keep back-up batteries charged up.  
  • Details of any ongoing treatment you are having.
  • Instructions about where and how to switch off the gas, electricity and water supplies in your home.

Some older adults or people with disabilities may be more at risk from fires in their home. FireEngland provides fire safety advice for carers, friends and family members, with simple actions to help keep the people you care for safe.  

Know what to do if the power goes out

  • If you have specialist machines (such as electric wheelchairs, stairlifts or oxygen machines) or other vital equipment, make a plan with your care provider and/or clinical care teams now. You will be better prepared if things go wrong.
  • Understand how your equipment works and what to do if there is a power disruption. Ask your care provider, clinical care team and/or equipment supplier for information about what to do in an emergency.
  • If your only way of making emergency calls is through a landline phone, or if you have a telecare kit connected to your landline, contact your landline provider to understand whether your phone will work during a power cut. If your landline will not work during a power cut, your landline provider might offer you a free solution (such as a back-up battery unit), for a minimum of one hour, that would enable you to call the emergency services during a power cut if you needed to.

Carers UK has developed a guide to creating an emergency plan. It can be used by carers to create plans for the people they look after. If you live independently, but have additional needs, you can use the plan to let others know your needs in an emergency. 

Additional preparedness actions

There are some additional preparedness actions that people with mobility, intellectual, cognitive, sensory and communication conditions can take. Specialist organisations can help build networks, provide advice or connect you to local services.

Everyone’s circumstances are different and individual needs should be considered when planning for emergencies.

Mobility impairments and conditions

  • Consider the impact of loss of electricity on powered wheelchairs and stairlifts. 
  • If you have one, keep your mobile phone with you, in case you need to make an emergency call.
  • Make arrangements with someone you trust to be able to access your home in an emergency (i.e. giving a family member, carer, or trusted neighbour a spare key).

Intellectual and cognitive impairments and conditions

Get in touch with specialist organisations that can help build networks, provide advice or connect you to local services.

Sensory and communication impairments and conditions

  • Consider how you will be alerted when an emergency happens. Ask your friends, family or support network to alert you and keep you informed. 
  • If you have one, keep your mobile phone with you, in case you need to make an emergency call.
  • Consider carrying information that lets first responders and others know how to communicate with you. This could be stored on a mobile device, written down on paper, or printed on a small card. 
  • The UK Government has an Emergency Alerts service that will warn you if there’s a danger to life nearby. Alerts are sent to your phone or tablet. Audio and vibration attention signals will let you know you have an emergency alert.

If you are blind or partially sighted:

  • The NHS provides information on blindness and vision loss. It provides advice about national and local organisations that can support you, how to register your vision loss, support that could be available to you, and changes you can make to your home to support independent living.
  • You should register with your local council as sight impaired or severely sight impaired. Registration is voluntary, but it can help your local council and other organisations to identify people with serious sight loss. 
  • Keep mobility aids, such as a long cane in a familiar place, so you can find it quickly in the event of an emergency. 
  • The Royal National Institute of Blind People supports blind and partially sighted people – its Sightline Directory lists services and organisations that help blind or partially sighted people in the UK.

If you have difficulty communicating verbally:

  • Sense supports people who are deafblind or who have complex communication disabilities.

If you have difficulty hearing or are a British Sign Language (BSL) user:

Advice for carers

There are actions that carers and people who provide support to disabled people can take to help themselves, and the people they care for, to prepare for emergencies.

  • Keep a list of emergency contacts that may need to be contacted in the event of an emergency.
  • Speak with your local council and other community services who can support you and the persons you provide care for. Your local council may be able to offer you a carer’s card. In an emergency, a carers card can help the emergency services and others know that someone depends on you. 
  • Make arrangements to contact the person you care for in the event of an emergency. If the situation means that it is dangerous for you to visit or you can’t get in touch with the person, call the emergency services and let them know that someone that relies on you may be at risk.

There are organisations that can help you create an emergency plan for the person you care for. They may be able to provide advice or connect you to support services in your area.

Assistance animals

There are steps you can take to lessen the impact on assistance animals during an emergency.

  • Have a plan for your assistance animal e.g. a ‘grab bag’ with their documents and veterinary records (in case you need to leave your home).
  • If you’re able to, keep an extra supply of food and bottled water for your assistance animal. 
  • Familiarise your assistance animal with your carers and wider support networks.