Visual Disabilities: Disaster Tips

This document was produced in cooperation with the Emergency Management Division of the Washington State Military Department.


  • If you use a cane, keep extras in strategic, consistent and secured locations at work, home, school and volunteer sites to help you maneuver around obstacles and hazards.
  • Keep a spare cane in your emergency kit.

Alternate mobility cues

  • If you have some vision, place security lights in each room to light paths of travel. These lights plug into electric wall outlets and light up automatically if there is a loss of power. They will, depending on type, continue to operate automatically for 1 to 6 hours. They can also be turned off manually and used as a short-lasting flashlight.
  • Store high-powered flashlights with wide beams and extra batteries.
  • Plan for losing the auditory clues you usually rely on after a major quake.
  • Service animals may become confused, frightened or disoriented during and after a disaster. Keep them confined or securely leashed or harnessed. A leash/harness is an important item for managing a nervous or upset animal. Be prepared to use alternative ways to negotiate your environment.

Label supplies

If helpful, mark emergency supplies with large print, fluorescent tape or Braille.

Secure computers

Anchor special equipment and large pieces of furniture, such as computers and shelving. Create a computer backup system for important data and store it off site.

Advocacy issues

Advocate that TV news not only post important phone numbers, but also announce them slowly and repeat them frequently for people who cannot read the screen.

Other Languages: (All files are PDF.)

DOH Pub 821-004
Revised - March 2008
Reviewed annually