This project is to support the preparedness of people with disability and their support networks for emergencies such as severe storm, floods and bushfires. Being prepared is one of the best ways to reduce the impacts of floods, bushfires and other emergency events.

The project is to directly support people with disability to plan for emergencies in ways that recognise their personal circumstances. The project uses the Person-centred Emergency Preparedness (P-CEP) approach developed in New South Wales. The Tasmanian State Emergency Service (SES) with the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) is managing the project with resourcing from the Australian Government’s Disaster Ready Fund.

The project proposal developed from a forum including people from emergency services and the disability sector (including people with disability) held in February 2023. The project’s steering committee and supporting advisory group are currently overseeing the project’s establishment.

Intended outcomes

  • People with disability:
    • actively participate in their own disaster preparedness;
    • have increased levels of disaster resilience;
    •  are safer during and after disaster events.
  • People with disability, support providers, and emergency services collaborate to improve the safety of people with disability during and after disasters.

Project Outputs/activities

The project will deliver:

  1. P-CEP Implementation – direct support for individuals and households living with disability in communities with high exposure to flood and/or bushfire (the primary focus of the project).
  2. Disability support provider emergency preparedness support focusing on flood and bushfire hazard awareness though
    • providing local hazard exposure information and
    • facilitating discussion exercises for disability support providers to develop, test and refine their emergency plans.
  3. Redevelopment of the SES home emergency plan to incorporate P-CEP principles, easy English and a visual style, to help make preparedness information more accessible and useful for many people, including people with disability.
  4. Direct community engagement activities with a focus on people with disability, including for example at Bushfire Ready Neighbourhoods (BRN) events, Storm and Flood Ready (SAFR) program activities, agricultural shows and other local events.
  5. A secondary aim of the project is to advocate for and support disability inclusive emergency planning, particularly in flood and bushfire planning.

Rationale

People with disability can be at increased risk during disasters. People with disability often have specific needs in the face of emergency events, which need to be considered alongside their other care needs and personal circumstances.  The lessons learnt from recent major bushfire and flood disasters drive the need for emergency planning for people at increased risk in emergencies due to disability. 

The project is supported by and supports the State Emergency Service’s Storm and Flood Ready (SAFR) program plus the Tasmania Fire Service’s Bushfire Ready Neighbourhoods program.

Skill and knowledge development across SES, TFS and disability service providers will extend beyond the scope of this project.  This project will enable ongoing disaster preparedness capabilities in the disability support sector.  People in SES and TFS will also have a better knowledge of the needs of people with disabilities before, during and after floods, storms and bushfires.  There will be better connections between these two sectors, benefitting all Tasmanians beyond the scope of this project.  While this project is focused on storm, flood and bushfire events, there can be many aspects relevant across other hazards and climate change more generally.

Current project activities

The project has recently recruited core team members.  The team is planning the details for the project’s implementation.

To contact the project team, please email pcep@ses.tas.gov.au.

Invitation: Pilot scenario discussion exercise for disability service providers in the greater Hobart area 17 June 2024

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