Why it is important to be emergency ready?
No one can foresee when an emergency or disaster is likely to occur. Following recent emergency situations, issues have been highlighted where people with disability are put at further risk due to a lack of preparation and planning.
If an emergency occurs you need to consider where you, your family, friends or personal care attendants are, and know what needs to be done if they are not with you. Studies have shown that children and older people's vulnerability is increased when they are separated from their usual support people.
Video by Clare O'Donnell, Videographer - Production Services, Strategic Communications and Events, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet
Do not just rely on emergency services
Article 11 - Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities pays attention to the need for State Parties to 'undertake all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of person with disabilities in situations of risk'.
Whilst emergency services have an obligation to have strategies in place to assist people with disability in emergency situations, there are plans individuals can have in place which will also reduce their vulnerability. Research has indicated a lack of confidence of emergency staff on how to treat and engage with people with different disabilities. Communication issues have also been highlighted.
Devising an action plan can ensure individual needs are met in an emergency situation. It can also help educate stakeholders on the needs of people with a physical disability, which will improve their ability to respond to emergency situations.
Negative attitude and resource allocation
Alarmingly, reports have been made where people with disability have experienced negative attitudes due to their disability, which affect decisions on who is prioritised during emergencies, especially where resources are scarce. Planning can reduce the possibility of this occurring.
Video Reference: http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/78827
The steps and information provided in this website are a guide. You may choose to/not to complete all steps. Each individual plan will be different to suit individual needs.
About the project
In 2013 the Physical Disability Council of NSW received funding from NRMA Insurance to develop an emergency readiness website for people with disability.
The aim of the website is to provide information and tools that are useful and practical, to assist people with disability in being prepared in emergency situations including fires, bush fires, storms, and personal safety. Ultimately we aim to empower individuals to develop their own emergency ready individual plans.
Since the launch of the website in April 2014, the I'm Okay: Emergency Readiness for People with Disability has been highly commended for the State in the National Resilient Australia Awards 2014
Acknowledgement of assistance in this project
The Physical Disability Council of NSW would like to thank the following organisations for their assistance during the development of this website: