Natural disasters and older US adults with disabilities: implications for evacuation.

We analysed 2003 and 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA to produce estimates of the number of community dwelling people aged 65 years or older with a disability and requiring special equipment.(4) Approximately, 47,840 (31.6 per cent) older adults with a disability and 24,938 (16.6 per cent) older adults requiring the use of special equipment were community dwelling and might require assistance to evacuate or a shelter that could accommodate special equipment. Older adults who need special equipment were likely to be female, unmarried and white, and to rate their health as fair or poor. Personnel who plan and prepare for evacuations and temporary shelter during disasters need baseline information on the number of older adults with a disability or who require special equipment. A surveillance system, such as the BRFSS, gathers information that planners can use to prepare for and to deliver services.