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Professionals encourage parents and teachers to consider physical barriers, sensory issues, and what can be done to keep all students with disabilities safe.

What will happen to your child if there's a fire at the school? A power outage? What if there's an active shooter? Asking these questions at the next IEP meeting -- and creating a written plan – is an often-overlooked part of securing necessary accommodations and supports.

An independent plan for emergencies doesn't just help one student. It makes things easier for peers who may not have disabilities.

There are many questions to ask, starting with, "Will my child...

  • Wear ear defenders?"

  • Have a fidget or comfort item?"

  • Have their device or equipment?"

  • Stay with their peers?"

  • Stay with their support person or a substitute?"

  • Have someone communicate with them essential information related to the emergency?"

  • Have someone grab their medicine?"

  • Have a back-up plan?"

  • Have appropriate outdoor wear?"

  • Practice with everyone else?"

  • Have more opportunities to practice?"

  • Have accessible transportation?"

  • Have their emergency contacts called as a priority?"


Discussing an appropriate plan for each emergency is best. Emergencies to consider:

  • Fire

  • Flood

  • Power Outage

  • No Heat or Air Conditioning on peak-weather days

  • Active Shooter

  • All other reasons to evacuate and/or close the school


Be sure to get the emergency plans in writing as part of your child’s IEP, and make sure that all key adults in your son or daughter’s life have a copy and are familiar with the plan.

Side notes: