The effects of recent disasters and other incidents have highlighted the need for better identification and planning for individuals most at risk for adverse health outcomes during or following a disaster. At-risk or vulnerable populations are often defined as groups whose unique needs may not be fully integrated into planning for disaster response. These populations include, but are not limited to, those who are physically or mentally disabled, blind, deaf, hard-of-hearing, cognitively impaired, or mobility challenged. Also included in this group are those who are non-English (or not fluent) speakers, geographically or culturally isolated, medically or chemically dependent, homeless, frail elderly and children.
Meeting the needs of vulnerable populations during or following a disaster is a key component of public health and medical preparedness planning. It is important to understand the nature of the vulnerabilities that put individuals more at-risk, develop better methods for identification, and identify strategies for meeting those needs during disasters to enhance existing plans.
This webpage is a toolkit for community planners who seek to better understand the needs of vulnerable populations before, during and after a disaster or incident. These tools are designed to enhance awareness and assessment of, and communications to those most at-risk in our communities. This will be a living site where tools and resources will continue to be added as they become available.
If you have feedback or input on how to improve the Vulnerable Populations toolkit or would like to share/submit additional resources for inclusion in the toolkit, send an email to the below address:
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