People with disability are twice as likely to be injured or be socially isolated during a disaster.
If you are, know, or care for someone living with disability, there are a few simple steps you can take now to reduce the impact of severe weather and disasters.
Understand your risk
- Understand what risks you are likely to face by talking with your support groups and your local council.
- Once you understand what risks you face, self-asses your preparedness, capabilities and support needs in emergencies.
- You can also plan to protect your home to prevent or reduce damage from natural hazards.
Planning for disasters
The best way to prepare for an emergency is to make a plan with your household and support networks.
- Think about all of your roles and responsibilities by considering what you do, where you do it and who you do it with, because emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time.
- Communicate with your support network about how you will plan and act together in an emergency.
- Consider how you will manage during loss of essential services like water and power.
- Consider how you will manage during loss of supports (such as community-based disability support services, home nursing, and personal care) that you rely on every day.
Complete a Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness plan and keep a copy in an easily accessible place.
The Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness plan is an initiative of Queenslanders with Disability Network, the University of Sydney and the Queensland Government funded through the Queensland Government's Queensland Disaster Resilience Fund (QDRF) and the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors.
Preparing for disasters
Prepare a kit with at least three days’ worth of supplies in case you are unable to leave home.
Your kit should contain:
- plenty of water and non-perishable food;
- a first-aid kit with at least a week’s supply of prescription medication, syringes, catheters and other medical supplies;
- copies of important documents;
- a torch;
- a battery-powered radio with spare batteries;
- medical devices such as glasses, hearing aids, augmentative communication devices, cane, walker and associated spare batteries;
- list of emergency contacts including your primary physician, pharmacist, assistive equipment supplies, medical supplier and support network member in and out of town;
- toiletries including hand sanitizer, tissues, and face masks;
- supplies for service animals including food, water, identification, vet contact details and proof of vaccination; and
- any additional items needed to meet your personal needs.
Cairns Regional Council has been working closely with their deaf community to find ways to better communicate information about natural hazards and preparing for disasters.
This work has included tailoring emergency alerts specifically for the deaf community during times of disaster to ensure information reaches this highly vulnerable part of the community.
Sioux Campbell from Cairns Regional Council sat down with Sue Frank and Wayne Reynolds from Deaf Services Queensland to reflect on their experiences working together to make disaster risk information and warnings more accessible to the deaf community.
In Part 1 of the conversation, hear about the lessons learned from engaging the deaf community about their needs, and reflections on what has been working well, including for Indigenous community members with hearing impairments.
In Part 2 of the conversation, hear about some of the challenges deaf people face interpreting mainstream communications as a result of English being their second language. The panel discusses how messages need to be adapted to have greater meaning for the deaf community and examples of how this is being achieved in Cairns.