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Toolkit on Enhancing Public Health Emergency Preparedness for Special Needs Populations

Public health emergency preparedness planning for special needs populations (e.g., individuals with disabilities, children) is critical for public health departments because individuals who might need special attention are often the most difficult to reach before, during, and after an event. As we have learned from emergencies over the past few years, our current plans are inadequate to meet the needs of these populations, and often these populations are the most negatively affected. To help state and local public health departments develop emergency preparedness plans to address the unique issues of special needs populations living within the community, this toolkit1 distills the most relevant strategies, practices, and resources from a variety of sources, including peer-reviewed research, government reports, and the trade literature, to identify priority populations and critical strategies for addressing their needs. The toolkit also highlights several practices that local public health agencies have found to be effective for enhancing preparedness planning and response for special needs populations, the challenges they have faced in implementing those practices, and the strategies they have employed to overcome those challenges. Many of the strategies, practices, and resources provided here could be useful to other emergency response agencies and applicable to any emergency response.


RAND Special Needs Toolkit