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Dear First Responder,

Whether you are a First Responder assisting in an emergency caused by a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, or you are a community volunteer providing assistance to people in need, you may encounter people with some type of disability. Some disabilities may be visually obvious. Other disabilities are more difficult to detect. In many cases, you can’t tell just by looking at the person whether they have a disability.

Supporting people with disabilities is easier if you remember they are “people first” and their disability is only a part of who they are. People with disabilities simply want to be treated with dignity and respect, just like anyone else. In supporting people with disabilities, take time to listen to what they are telling you either with their words or behaviors. It is always best to start by asking how you can help or assist.

Many first responders have requested quick, easy-to-use guidelines for assisting persons with disabilities. These tips sheets provide information about many types of disabilities and can be used during emergencies as well as during routine encounters. They are not meant to be comprehensive, but contain specific information that you can read quickly either before or while you are responding to an incident. In addition to the tips for responding to people, information about where to locate services for people is also provided.

If you would like more information about how to assist people with disabilities or have suggestions for future editions of this guide please contact us.

Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council

General Tips

Specific tips

Helpful Contacts in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Health Care Authority
http://okhca.org/

800-522-0310
Medicaid
Oklahoma Disability Law Center
www.flash.net/~odlcokc
800-880-7755
Advocacy Legal Services
Oklahoma Areawide Services Information System
http://oasis.ouhsc.edu

800-426-2747
Information and referral to resources statewide
Oklahoma Respite Resource Network
Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council
www.okddc.ok.gov

405-521-4984
800-836-4470
Advocacy, Resource Information
Oklahoma Department of Human Services
www.okdhs.org
Aging Services Division
Developmental Disabilities Division
2-1-1
A free, easy-to-remember phone number connecting callers with health and human services in their area.  No matter where you live in Oklahoma, you can dial 211 and get referrals to services available in your community. 

The Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council gratefully acknowledges the following organizations for the initial creation and subsequent individualization of Tips for First Responders. Without their hard work, the customized Oklahoma version of Tips would not have been possible.

  • Center for Development and Disability, University of New Mexico
  • New Mexico Department of Health, Office of Emergency Management
  • American Association on Health and Disability
  • New Mexico Governor’s Commission on Disability
  • Research and Training Center on Independent Living
  • Texas Center for Disabilities Studies
  • Texas Developmental Disabilities Council