If you require additional assistance in an emergency, be sure to identify your needs ahead of time and communicate them to others. Develop a plan that makes sense for your specific situation. Wear medical alert tags or bracelets and be prepared to tell emergency personnel if you have a disability, use a mobility aide or service animal, whether you have allergies, phobias, or a language barrier. Know the names of all your medications.  If you use an augmentative communications device or other assistive technologies, plan how you will evacuate with the devices or how you will replace equipment if lost or destroyed. Include appropriate supplies in your go bag and emergency supply kit. If you use assistive technology devices, such as white canes, CCTV, text-to-speech software, keep information about model numbers and where you purchased the equipment. Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working.

For more information, visit resources available at: Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross, or Ready.gov

For assistance with your Personal Emergency Preparedness Plan and general safety concerns UMass students, faculty, and staff should contact the Office of Emergency Management: oem@umass.edu.


Think about the overall health and safety needs of you and your family when formulating your Personal Emergency Preparedness Plan. Consider what needs you or your family may have should you need to shelter-in-place or evacuate. Be sure to: 

  • Create a support network to help you plan for an emergency. Consider family, neighbors, roommates, friends, service providers, and faith based and community groups.
  • Call 2-1-1 for information about critical health and human services available in your areas
  • Notify your utility provider if you are dependent on electricity to operate a life sustaining device. If you are on campus, notify the Facilities Service Center at 413-545-6401.
  • Provide any necessary organizations or service providers with information about your functional needs and what you may require in an emergency.

Medical Support

  • Identify multiple locations to receive dialysis or other life-sustaining medical treatment. Work with your primary provider to create a plan to obtain and ensure essential services in case of a disaster.
  • If you or your family member has a wheelchair, know the size and weight of it and whether it is collapsible in case it must be transported during an evacuation. 
  • Show emergency contacts how to use wheelchairs or other assistive devices.
  • Develop back-up plans for personal assistance services, hospice care, or other forms of in-home assistance.

Transportation & Evacuation

  • Work with transportation providers and/or disability services to plan ahead for accessible transportation.
  • If you are unable to leave a building during an evacuation, get to a safe location within the facility. Do not use an elevator during a fire evacuation or power outage.
    • Call 911 or UMass Police at 413-545-3111 from your cell phone and let the operator know of your exact location. Stay calm until help arrives.
  • Be ready to explain your specific needs or those of your family, to first responders and emergency officials so you receive the necessary support to safely evacuate and find shelter.

Campus Support Services: