Vulnerable Populations

This section of the Toolkit provides a simplified approach to addressing vulnerable populations for I & Q planning. It describes how we structured our approach, some of our conclusions and poses additional questions that are continued action items for our team.


While many residents of a jurisdiction can withstand an emergency, others would face difficult challenges. By its nature, triage-assuring the greatest good for the greatest number-can disadvantage those whose special needs make them "harder to serve." If vulnerable populations are to effectively engage with an I & Q activation, special attention must be given to their needs.

The definition of Vulnerable Populations that Public Health-Seattle & King County has been working with is: people who need extra support to be prepared, as well as those in need of community support to successfully respond and recover when disasters or emergencies strike.

The need to establish a separate working group to address planning issues for vulnerable populations was identified early in the planning process. A work plan was developed to identify these audiences and establish protocols to be built into the I & Q Plan for appropriate response measures.

Planning Focus

Public Health focused on specific populations in the early planning including individuals who would need interpretative services, individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals served by homeless shelters.