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Ready Marine Corps

Emergency Preparedness Program

Brought to You By Your Marine Corps Emergency Management Team
Exceptional Family Member
A young girl holds a dog in this image.

If you or someone close to you has a disability or exceptional needs, you should make special prepara­tions in case of an emergency. Individuals with exceptional needs could have increased complications during an evacuation. Family members with physical, visual, hearing, or mental disabilities may need extra time or may be especially nervous or reluctant to leave familiar surroundings. They may also be dependent on devices or medications that need to travel with them. To adequately prepare for every possible emergency situation, consider making the following arrangements.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns 02.13.2013

How to Prepare
  1. Verify and update official contact information populated in the Marine Corps Enterprise Mass Notification System (eMNS) by information found in the Global Address List (GAL), and self-register all cell phones, home phone, email addresses, etc. in eMNS
  2. Make a written emergency plan.
  3. Discuss the exceptional family mem­ber’s need with neighbors and co-workers.
  4. Know more than one location of a medi­cal facility that provides the services the exceptional family member may need.
  5. Have a list with the types and models of any equipment or devices needed.
  6. Make sure those around you know how to operate any necessary equipment.
  7. Do not assume that you or your loved one has been factored into an evacuation plan.
  8. If you or a loved one are physically disabled, study the evacuation plan of any building from which you might evacuate. If necessary, know if and where an Evacuation Chair (EVAC+CHAIR) is located, and make sure someone knows how to operate it.
  9. Prepare any instructions you need to give rescuers or others who may be around you. Use concise verbal directions, or carry written instructions with you at all times. An Exceptional Needs Information Form is provided for your convenience. 

If you are a caregiver, consider completing a caregiver contingency plan to docu­ment all those details of your loved ones’ care you know by heart in the event that someone else needs to fill in for you in an emergency. Click on the following links for a sample caregiver contingency plan (CCP).                                                                                   

Preparing your Workplace or School for an Emergency
  • Become a member of your office or school emergency preparedness team. You best know your needs and that of your exceptional family member before, during, and after an emergency. 
  • Know all emergency exits and ramp locations and ensure the exceptional family member knows them as well.
  • Ensure that emergency notification systems and procedures have been established to accommodate the exceptional family member’s needs, i.e. sound-based systems for visual impairments; text-based systems, bed shakers, or strobe smoke detectors for auditory impairments; or simple cues for cognitive impair­ments.
  • If you or your exceptional family member require help evacuating the building, create and practice a plan with a designated support team.
  • Have a “Go Kit” with your exceptional family member at work or school with essential items they would need if they had to evacuate.
  • Identify an area where public safety officials can assist you and your exceptional family member in any building you visit regularly.
During an Emergency
  • Instruct your exceptional family member to accept help from first responders and not hide from them.
  • If told to evacuate, you/the exceptional family member should do so if it is pos­sible with the help of others.
  • If unable to evacuate, you/the exceptional family member should wait in a safe location for rescuers.
  • Take an emergency kit, including any necessary items, with you.
  • Stay as calm as possible to be a help to those around you.
  • Once in a safe place, you and/or the exceptional family member should check in with pre-designated emergency contacts.
Build a Kit

Build an emergency kit.

  • Inventory what the exceptional family member uses every day to live independently or comfortably.
  • Add any necessary supplies such as wheelchair batteries, catheters, oxygen, medication, food for service animals, or other special supplies.

Set your own course through any hazard: stay informed, make a plan, build a kit.
Live Ready Marine Corps.

Where to Find Additional Information


Department of Homeland Security (Ready.gov) & FEMA

Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)http://www.mccshh.com/efmp.html


Downloadable PDF




Exceptional Needs PDF