There are many efforts underway throughout New Jersey to enhance the safety and security of people with disabilities. At all levels of government, community leaders have been developing and implementing a variety of targeted public safety measures.
New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) – is housed under the Division of New Jersey State Police, headed by the State Police Superintendent. The following Offices and Programs are administered by NJOEM.
People with Disabilities and Access and Functional Needs (AFN) often need additional time and assistance to prepare for a disaster. Housed in every County Office of Emergency Management is an Access and Functional Needs Coordinator.
NJ Register Ready allows New Jersey residents with disabilities or access and functional needs and their families, friends, caregivers and associates an opportunity to provide information to emergency response agencies so emergency responders can better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergency. Register Ready is a free, secure and voluntary database designed to help emergency managers and first responders plan for and support people with disabilities and access and functional needs (DAFN) who may need extra assistance during disasters. Contact your County Office of Emergency Management or Center for Independent Living to register. You may also register online or Telephone 2-1-1 (within NJ), or 877-652-1148 toll free (TTY/TDD and translation services available). Information on Register Ready is also available in American Sign Language.
The New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) within DHS is home to a specialized mental health Disaster and Terrorism Branch. Services include:
Individuals with access and functional needs (AFN) may have issues related to communication, medical care, supervision, transportation and/or maintaining independence before, during and after disasters. The NJ Group for Access and Integration Needs in Emergencies and Disasters (NJ GAINED) was formed to identify issues likely to affect AFN populations as they prepare to respond to a large-scale emergencies or disasters, as well as emergency management personnel as they attempt to assist persons with AFN before, during and after adverse conditions.
Many of New Jersey's 21-county Sheriff Offices administer the Project Lifesaver Search and Rescue Program. Project Lifesaver is a 501 (C)(3) community based, public safety, non-profit organization that provides law enforcement, fire/rescue, and caregivers with a program designed to protect, and when necessary, quickly locate individuals with cognitive disorders who are prone to the life threatening behaviors of wandering and elopement.
In 2023 the State Search and Rescue (SAR) Program was awarded funding to purchase locative technology for county-based Project Lifesaver programs. This equipment will be distributed upon request and based on need and availability. To request this locative technology for your agency, a formal email referencing this Program Directive must be sent to the Search and Rescue Unit from your Agency Project Lifesaver Program Coordinator.
CDC maintains a website of Disability and Health Emergency Preparedness resources.
The Disaster Assistance Improvement Program's (DAIP) mission is to provide disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance through joint data-sharing efforts between federal, tribal, state, local, and private sector partners. These resources can help people with disabilities or access and functional needs learn how to prepare for disasters.
FEMA's mission is helping people before, during and after disasters, and our guiding principles help us achieve it. It is housed under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA is charged with working with State and Local government agencies to assist them with developing emergency management programs.
Launched in February 2003, Ready is a National public service campaign designed to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to promote preparedness through public involvement. The site hosts a resource page of information that will help people with disabilities plan ahead for disasters.