How Transportation Assistance Levels (TAL) Changed Emergency Preparedness in Home Care

In most households, emergency preparedness plans establish when to shelter in place and when to evacuate during an emergency event. However, in homes with older adults or individuals with mobility limitations, evacuating without proper support can make a dangerous situation worse.

In an effort to better protect New Yorkers with limited mobility, the New York State Department of Health instituted the Transportation Assistance Level (TAL) policy in 2016. Under this mandate, all home health care providers were required to determine every patient’s ability to move independently and consider these limitations when building a household’s emergency response plans.

Five years later, the TAL has proven to be an incredible success, giving first responders and home care providers a clearer picture of where transportation resources will be most needed before an emergency event, while in-home caregivers know what type of assistance to expect before helping their patient to safety.

The three levels of Transportation Assistance are as follows:

TAL 1: Non-Ambulatory


This rating is meant for patients who are bedbound and unable to sit upright for long periods of time. In the event of an emergency, the city 911 system will dispatch FDNY and EMS staff to assist the client by stretcher into an ambulance for transportation.

TAL 2: Wheelchair


This rating indicates that a client is unable to walk short distances due to a physical or medical condition. When an evacuation occurs, paratransit services like Access-A-Ride are used to transport patients to safety.

TAL 3: Ambulatory

TAL 3 is reserved for patients who can safely walk without the assistance of others and includes patients who use a cane, walker or similar device.  When an evacuation occurs, paratransit services like Access-A-Ride, private or for-hire vehicles can be used to assist in evacuation.Ambulatory


As part of our ongoing emergency preparedness efforts, SelectCare’s nursing staff evaluates every patient’s TAL status during their free monthly nursing assessments, brief home caregivers on emergency preparedness and evacuation plans and keep a SelectCare nurse on-call 24/7 to ensure our community is prepared.

If you are considering home health care for yourself or a loved one, contact SelectCare or visit our emergency preparedness page to learn how we safeguard our community.