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Access & Functional Needs

Access & Functional Needs

Access & Functional Needs (A&FN) Populations are defined as those whose members may have additional needs before, during and after an incident in functional areas, including (but not limited to):

  • Medical Care
  • Independence (Maintaining)
  • Supervision
  • Transportation
  • Communication

The ADA defines an individual with a disability as a person who:

  1. Had a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  2. Has a history or record of such an impairment
  3. Is perceived by others as having such an impairment

The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered. Impairments that are minor or transitory (<6 months in expected or actual duration) are not considered a disability.

The 10 A&FN Categories:

  1. Visually Impaired
  2. Deaf & Hard of Hearing
  3. Mobility Impaired
  4. Single Working Parent
  5. Non-English Speaking
  6. Without Vehicles
  7. Special Dietary Need
  8. Medical Conditions
  9. Intellectual Disabilities
  10. Dementia

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) section emphasizes the inclusion of public health categories of A&FN in preparedness planning and training. This is done by keeping annual contract deliverables public health focused. Therefore, for the purpose of PHEP deliverables in Montana:

Public Health A&FN populations are defined in Montana as people having access and/or functional health needs beyond their capability to maintain during an emergency.

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

- World Health Organization

"Public Health is the art and science of maintaining, protecting, and prolonging the health of the people through organized community effort."

- American Medical Association

"Public Health is activities that society does collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy. This includes organized community efforts to prevent, identify, preempt, and counter threats to the public’s health."

- Montana Public Health Improvement Task Force, Strategic Plan for Public Health System Improvement (May, 2000)

Montana has many organizations that can serve functional need populations during an emergency or crisis event. Coordination and planning for preparedness for these populations, and the organizations that serve them, is needed at the community level. Local and tribal health departments are often the entities most looked toward for guidance or referral.

Coordination during a crisis is a high priority to make response and recovery efficient and effective and is a shared responsibility of all partners involved. Local and tribal health departments foster those partnerships with organizations that serve the functional need populations within their community.


FEMA Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs
AARP Dealing with Disaster
Building Community Resilience for Children and Families
Red Cross Disaster Preparedness for People with Disabilities
Public Health Preparedness and Response for At-Risk Populations

Individual Emergency Preparedness Tools

Basic Family Health Information Sheet
Advanced Emergency Medical Information Kit


Montana Disability & Health Program
Support & Techniques for Empowering People
Montana Independent Living Project Inc. (MILP)
Emergency Preparedness and Response SNAPS
Health Emergency Privacy
Montana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD)  > Emergency Preparedness for People with Functional Needs

Phone: (406) 444-0919