Special Needs Emergency Preparedness

Special Needs Emergency Preparedness

Among the small “city” of students, faculty, staff, and visitors on the University of Washington Seattle Campus are people who may require more individualized assistance in the case of an emergency. Often called special needs populations, the terms vulnerable populations or specific needs are also used to describe these groups.

In 2003, the University of Washington received a Disaster Resistant University Planning Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Part of the planning activities funded was the University of Washington Seattle Campus Report on Emergency Preparedness for Special Needs Populations

The study goals:

  • Characterize the special needs populations on campus
  • Identify major University of Washington stakeholders and selected policies relating to emergency preparedness for special needs populations
  • Recommend steps for assisting the University in enhancing its special needs emergency plans.

The study included minors under the age of 18; people with disabilities; hospitalized patients and others with medical conditions; the frail elderly; non-English speaking persons; and companion and research animals.

This 70-page study, completed in April 2006, is the result of 9 months of research and effort by over 50 individuals from the University and its partner organizations.

For more information and emergency preparedness resources, click on the more specific population buttons below.


  • People with Disabilities, Medical Needs & Elderly

  • Children - Minors

  • Non-English Speakers

  • Pets