Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Emergency Planning Resources
Emergency Planning Essentials for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Families
These are actions for preparing an emergency plan for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and families. Each action includes links to resources that may be useful and helpful to you in completing that part of your own emergency plan.
Six Actions That You Can Take to Prepare BEFORE an Emergency Happens
ACTION ONE: Assess Your Risk
Resources, Training, and Checklists That Help You Understand and Assess Risks Unique to or Heightened for Persons with ASD
Everybody Needs A Plan (Minnesota State Council on Disabilities)
Autism Risk Management
AAC-RERC Guidance for Persons with Communications Challenges
AWAARE (Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response Education)
Parent Resource List
Autism Speaks.Org Tips (interaction with police)
ACTION TWO: Identify Yourself
Consider multiple strategies 1) to let responders know you are a person with ASD, 2) to provide medical, contact and other relevant information, and/or 3) to identify special needs and response tactics.
Contact your local Emergency Communications Center (ECC)/911 Agency.
Many allow you to provide information for their database about special needs and circumstances that can be communicated to responders when called to a scene (e.g. person with ASD lives here). Some ECCs will allow you to self disclose detailed contact and "in case of emergency" information. See Ramsey County ECC Residential Emergency Response Information Form).
Feeling Safe Being Safe Magnet (magnet and booklet can be requested from the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities at (651) 296-4018 or toll free at (877) 348-0505
ID Bracelets and Temporary Tattoos
Program ICE (In Case of Emergency information) right into your mobile phone, tablet or other device
- Smart ICE (iOS app)
- ICE (for Android)
- Or use the capabilities of your phone or PDA to create your own, easy to find contact named ICE, a universal term recognized by first responders.
Car and Window Decals and Magnets
ACTION THREE: Educate Your Support Network
Google Health Lets you store health and other ICE information. You can use to store information for emergency planning (see below) and give access to your support network.
Share Emergency Information—give your support network copies of or access to your plan and ICE information—use resources described above and below to record, save, copy.
Ask if you can include their contact information as a resource in case of emergency.
Consider creating a "local alert system"
ACTION FOUR: Make a Plan and Practice
Use available training materials and checklists to build your plan and practice
Feeling Safe Being Safe (designed by and for persons with developmental disabilities)
Are You Ready FEMA
Supplies Checklist FEMA
FEMA Ready Kids (designed to engage children in planning)
Billy Builds a Kit (designed to engage nonverbal children in planning)
Autism Risk Management
Parent Resource List (ASD specific)
Create a Ready Kit and Go Bag appropriate to your circumstances (see training/checklists above)
Use Social Stories to Practice
Ready to go
Build your own using these tools:
- Stories2Learn App (iOS)
- Remember the Milk (task manager and reminder you can use on phone, tablet or computer)
Include resources to facilitate effective communication and sharing of emergency information with responders.
- Utilize identification and training resources described above
- For persons who are nonverbal, be sure to keep a communication board or device in your Go Bag. Consider a communication board as a back up even if you use a wireless or battery operated device. Devices may get lost or be damaged or there may be a loss of power and phone service in emergency situations.
- Think about including a “Responder Tip” card in your To Go Bag or with ICE information.
- Emergency Communication Board (English) (also available in Spanish)
ACTION FIVE: As Needed, Prepare for Wandering
Local alert system
Locator/Recovery/Tracking Solutions (Note: some products consist of device plus service or application, some applications require a Smartphone or tablet and may not be available for all operating systems.)
Bracelet/band worn around wrist or ankle - register with local law enforcement
Project Lifesaver (Telemetry) - currently used by Saint Paul Police Department, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department and 20 other jurisdictions in MN. Most widely supported and 100% success rate in communities that support. Not all persons are comfortable with the device and not all communities have a community supported recovery program.
Device with Monitoring
Device you monitor
Phone Apps (track, monitor and alert)
ACTION SIX: Be an Advocate
Encourage local 911 Emergency Communication Center to support detailed information registry
Meet with Emergency Managers about persons with ASD
- Autism & Emergency Preparedness: Tips and Information for Emergency Shelter Staff and Trainers
- Inclusive Preparedness
Encourage awareness and training among your local law enforcement, fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
Refer to General Awareness and Responder Training resources available from The Autism Society of Minnesota at www.ausm.org and the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities at http://www.mnddc.org/emergency-planning/asd-emergency-planning.html