Disability Inclusive Disaster Preparedness in NSW

Flooding of Manning River at Taree (2011)

Flooding of Manning River at Taree (2011)

Enabling Local Community Resilience Through Collaboration

A project funded under the joint State/Commonwealth Natural Disaster Resilience Program

Preparedness for natural disasters saves lives and minimizes injury. People with disabilities are twice as likely to die or be injured during natural disasters than the general population. One in five people in NSW live with disability. Individuals with disability are more likely to be socially isolated and have nobody to turn to in times of emergencies. Risk is further increased due to a fragmented system where responsibility to address the unique needs and capabilities of people with disabilities in disasters is unclear.

Community Service Organisations (CSOs), Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), Local Government Areas (LGAs) and local businesses have little experience in emergency preparedness. Yet, community resilience depends upon the capacity of these organisations to support people with disabilities in emergencies.

In each area people with disabilities (ages 18-60 years old) their parents/carers, CSOs, DPOs, LGAs and local businesses are invited to participate in the project. Participation will include attending two workshops, the first will be a knowledge base workshop where attendees can discuss their experiences of natural disasters. The second workshop will allow attendees to improve their capability to prepare for, and respond to natural disasters using emergency preparedness tools developed by the research team.

Local Emergency Management Guidelines for Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in NSW

These guidelines are for local emergency managers and disability support providers to understand Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR) principles and suggest practical activities to engage the community in building resilience.

The guidelines focus on emergency preparedness. They were developed as part of the Disability Inclusive Disaster Preparedness in NSW: Enabling Local Community Resilience Through Collaboration 2015-2017 project.

The guidelines are an outcome of bringing together emergency managers and disability support providers in three NSW Communities to develop a shared focus on community strengths, challenges, and resources for DIDRR and build a local knowledge base in DIDRR.

Local Emergency Management Guidelines for Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in NSW Download Accessible PDF

Watch our video! Disability Inclusive Disaster Preparedness in NSW

This video was made as part of the project to share key insights from multiple stakeholder perspectives about what we learned together during this project.

The video accompanies the Local Emergency Management Guidelines for Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction, which shares “actionable nuggets” for coordinating and collaborating with communities to enable disability inclusive disaster risk reduction (DIDRR).

Watch the video by following this link

*the video has closed captions available

Self-assessment of Emergency Preparedness for People with Disability: A Report on the Field Application of the Individual Self Assessment Tool – Emergency Preparedness (ISAT-EP)

This report details the field testing of the Individual Self-Assessment Tool – Emergency Preparedness (ISAT-EP). This field test aimed to evaluate the utility of this tool from the perspective of people with disability and stakeholders in the disability, community and emergency management sectors as well as generate suggestions for improvement.

The project team field tested the ISAT-EP as one element of the Phase 2 Local Emergency Preparedness Workshops and continued this in Phase 3 of the project conducted in the three study locations.

In total 60 field test participants engaged in the review with nearly half (49%) being people with disability.

Report on the field application of the Individual Self Assessment Tool – Emergency Preparedness (ISAT-EP) Download WORD

Report on the field application of the Individual Self Assessment Tool – Emergency Preparedness (ISAT-EP) Download PDF

Identifying Organisational Emergency Preparedness: A Field Test Report on the Application of the Resilient Community Organisations Toolkit from the Australian Council of Social Services

This report details the field testing of an existing organisational preparedness tool, the ACOSS Resilient Community Organisations toolkit.

With the support of ACOSS, the project team field tested this RCO toolkit as one element of the Phase 2 Local Emergency Preparedness Workshops and continued this in Phase 3 of the project conducted in the three study locations.

Participants were invited to review the usefulness of the RCO toolkit for their organisation using a specifically designed review format. In total, 17 participants from 12 organisations reviewed the RCO toolkit.

Field Test Report on the Application of the Resilient Community Organisations Toolkit Download WORD

Field Test Report on the Application of the Resilient Community Organisations Toolkit Download PDF

Report on Phase Two Workshops October 2016

This report summarises the findings from the project’s Phase Two workshops which were undertaken in October 2016 in the project’s study locations:Hawkesbury; Taree and Sutherland.

Phase Two provided an opportunity to sustain engagement with participants in their local communities, providing an opportunity to reflect on local community actions for disability inclusion in emergency preparedness for natural hazards.

Report on Phase Two Workshops October 2016 Download WORD

Report on Phase Two Workshops October 2016 Download PDF

Scoping Review - Disability and Disaster Risk Reduction / Emergency Preparedness

This paper presents a scoping review of the scientific literature undertaken as part of the Disability Inclusive Disaster Preparedness in NSW: Enabling Local Community Resilience Through Collaboration project. This project was funded under the Community Resilience Innovation Program (2014-2015), Office of Emergency Management, NSW Department of Justice. This program is part of the NSW and Commonwealth governments’ National Partnership Agreement – Natural Disaster Resilience Program.

Scoping Review - Disability and Disaster Risk Reduction Download WORD

Scoping Review - Disability and Disaster Risk Reduction Download PDF

REPORT: Knowledge base workshops in the Local Government Areas (LGA)

A report outlining the process and outcomes of the disability inclusive emergency preparedness workshops, September 2016

This report summarises the findings from the project’s ‘Local Knowledge Base Workshops’, which were undertaken in April and May 2016 in the project’s study locations:Hawkesbury; Taree and Sutherland.

Learnings from each of the three study locations contributed to four principles for guiding future directions for local action:

  • It is important to know your community
  • It is necessary to intentionally build individual and community networks of support
  • Community Service Organisations (CSOs), and Disability Support Organisations (DSOs), have in-depth knowledge about people with disability in their community and they have established networks of trust and support
  • Opportunities exist to nurture collaboration between CSOs/DSOs and Emergency Management Agencies and collaborative effort should be fostered as a core strategy for local action


Knowledge base workshops in the LGAs Download WORD

Knowledge base workshops in the LGAs Download PDF

Media Release: NSW puts people with disability at the heart of disaster planning

Natural disasters like floods and bushfires are common place in Australia these days, but what isn’t talked about are the experiences of people with disability during these emergencies.

Recent research shows people with disability are at least twice as likely to die or be injured during a disaster – and in many cases purely due to a lack of planning.

The University of Sydney is partnering with the NSW State Office of Police and Emergency Services to put people with disability at the centre of disaster preparedness planning in New South Wales.

The team is working with disaster-prone communities in Sutherland, Taree and the Hawkesbury to help community organisations, individuals and families better prepare for natural disasters to ensure people with disability aren’t left behind.

Project lead Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn from the University of Sydney’s Centre for Disability Research and Policy said international tragedies such as the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, and Hurricane Katarina have shown the devastating impact these events can have on people with disability.

“Excluding people with disability from the planning process leaves them hugely vulnerable to a system that doesn’t understand their needs and experiences,” said Professor Llewellyn.

Professor Llewellyn is quick to reel off a list of unacceptable examples including emergency communications in non-accessible formats, evacuation procedures that don’t cater for people using wheel chairs or with mobility challenges and temporary accommodation that cannot support essential equipment like ventilators.

“With Australia’s long history of floods, fires and storms, and with one in five people in NSW living with disability, it’s essential that we get this right,” she said.

The project will kick off with community workshops – starting in the Hawkesbury - where local councils, people with disability, community service organisations and local emergency managers will come together to discuss the strengths and barriers to carrying out disability-inclusive preparedness planning.

“As a community we need to be prepared to manage these risks for all members of our community, including populations that are more vulnerable due to both location and individual circumstances including disability.
“Whilst state and local volunteer resources are available to respond to emergencies, it is clear that losses and impacts can be minimised through knowledge sharing, preparation and collaboration.”

The researchers will use the information gathered to develop self-assessment tools for people with disability and community organisations to help them understand the risks and how to address them in advance – working together to ensure, coordinated local area action.

The project will also result in ‘resilience profiles’ for each community highlighting issues and providing resources to fill gaps, as well as the development of guidelines for Emergency Services.

For further information about this research project please contact Hayley Brooks on:

p: (02) 9351 9152
e:disability.disaster@sydney.edu.au
Centre for Disability Research and Policy
The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSW Government, unless the views expressed in the Project Materials have been publicly supported by the Government or a government agency.