Ding! Ding! Ding! The fire alarm is going off! Do you know what to do? Understanding what to do for emergencies is crucial for everyone; but especially for people with disabilities as they may have some extra needs.
Emergency preparedness can be a difficult process for some people with disabilities. It is very important to know how to support those with disabilities in an emergency or in the process of emergency preparedness.
Some things to consider are:
- Individual health needs, including supervision, medications and equipment
- Needs of service animals
- Mobility, evacuation, and transportation needs
- Mental health issues and sensory needs
- Communication requirements e.g. alternate formats, signage, and notification systems
Please don’t assume that people with disabilities will have the same emergency needs as everyone else. Preparation is crucial!
Here are some ways to get prepared:
- Create an individualized emergency plan – there is a workbook for people with disabilities to fill out that makes this process very easy to understand. There is also a great accompanying guide that may be useful for this – Prepared BC Emergency Plan Info Guide
- Identify your personal support network for connections that you could reach out to if you are ever in an emergency
- Make sure all emergency procedures for your workplace and home are clearly outlined and available in several formats so everyone can access them if necessary – if starting from scratch, the BC Government has created a useful Disaster Guide for People with Disabilities
- Practice evacuating and make sure that all spaces are accessible for everyone so that if an emergency were to happen, everyone would be able to get out quickly and safely
- Consider the different types of emergencies that could occur and prepare for them. The BC Government has created a set of BC Disaster Guidebooks that you may want to check out
- Gather all necessary things and put them in a kit that you can take with you for when you must leave quickly. The resources below have thorough lists for you to refer to.
For more information or further reading see:
- 1.Planning for Safety (Canadian Government)
- 2.Get Prepared Guide (Canadian Government)
- 3.Personal Preparedness Checklist (Disability Alliance BC)
Let’s get prepared! There’s no time like the present to make sure that you are safe!