What’s disability got to do with climate change?

white background with orange logo depicting a tsunami coming to a house with a person with a can walking away. Disability and climate change.Climate change is affecting everyone, but when a catastrophic event occurs some people are more at risk than others. Evacuation, temporary shelter, and access to specialist assistance pose specific problems for older people, children and people with disability. So the UN is calling on governments to listen to those who are most affected by natural disasters.

Some countries and regions have disaster plans that pay attention to vulnerable groups. But individuals rarely have plans. Many older people and people with disability are not able to evacuate as quickly as others. Accessing assistance afterwards is also a problem. As a disaster can cause disability this aspect is all the more important. This is one of the findings in Disability and Development Report which collated data from more than 100 countries. The specific section on disasters is on page 240. The situation appears to be the same in both developed and developing countries. 

You can read an overview in the Pacific Standard article, The UN is calling for inclusion of people with disabilities in the climate change debate

Safe Evacuation for All

Picture taken looking up a building where a man in striped pajamas is being helped onto a ladder by two firefightersNext time you have a fire drill take a moment to consider whether anyone could be experiencing difficulty getting out. And it is not all about mobility issues. In a real situation some people are likely to panic or experience high levels of anxiety. Fire wardens can be trained to manage these situations, but is the design of the building helpful as well? The guide, Safe Evacuation for All has some really useful information to help. 

The guide is for anyone involved in planning and managing safe evacuation from buildings. This includes facilities and accommodation staff, health and safety staff, access officers, human resource professionals and others. Design professionals and fire engineers will find it useful too. The guide was developed by the National Disability Authority in Ireland. Each section is available to download separately: the guide, a risk assessment checklist and a PEEP template.

The aims of this publication are to:

    • encourage anyone preparing an evacuation plan to consider the needs of people of all ages, sizes, abilities and disabilities;
    • help those responsible for buildings to recognise the evacuation features relevant for people with disabilities;
    • give guidance on providing safe evacuation for everyone; and
    • identify good practice in providing safe evacuation for everybody.  

The title of the guide is, Safe Evacuation for All

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