Readiness, Reaction, and Response: Addressing School Emergencies for Students with Disabilities

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Publication Date

Fall 2016


Over the past decades, events have occurred in U.S. schools that highlight the importance of school emergency planning. In response to these events, many schools have developed emergency plans to prepare for these situations, but few have considered the specific needs of students with disabilities in emergency situations, and even fewer have practiced these plans. Children with disabilities are highly vulnerable in emergency situations. Unfortunately, their needs are often not considered in school emergency planning, leaving schools and communities unprepared. As a result, the needs of students with disabilities must be addressed during all phases of school emergency planning. The purpose of this article is to address issues regarding the current status of school emergency planning for students with disabilities and to provide recommendations for addressing the needs of students with disabilities during each step in emergency preparedness--readiness, reaction, and response.

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