Safety Needs of People with Disabilities during Earthquakes

Aidin Aryankhesal, Shahrzad Pakjouei, Mohammad Kamali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objective The needs of people with disabilities are not taken into account during disasters, and there is no or little preparation for them. Hence, such people are very anxious about their personal safety during disasters. The aim of this study was to explain the safety needs of people with disabilities during earthquakes.Methods This qualitative study was conducted with purposive sampling. A total of 12 people with movement disability, aged between 18 and 60 years, and with an experience of facing earthquakes, participated in semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis was used.Results The safety needs of people with disabilities were categorized into three phases: those before an earthquake were considering building codes and resistant construction, building safe and resistant-to-climate-change shelters, and securing the room at the home and workplace; that during an earthquake was the existence of personal protection facilities; and those after an earthquake were adaptation of bathrooms in secure areas, prioritizing conex containers instead of tents, and sheltering in a safe and vermin-free area.Conclusions The sudden death of people with disabilities during disasters is preventable through proper planning and preparedness of emergency personnel. Hence, identifying the safety needs of these people and inclusion of such plans in disasters management systems can assure safety for people with disabilities during disasters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:615-621)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-621
Number of pages7
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • earthquakes
  • needs
  • people with disabilities
  • safety
  • shelter

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