It is well known that people with disabilities and other functional/access needs are less likely to be included in emergency preparedness planning efforts and are more likely than members of the general population to be left behind in emergencies and suffer negative health outcomes as a result. In order to address this disparity, The Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities, in collaboration with New Britain Emergency Medical Services, recently developed a training program for people with access and functional needs called, The Readys Emergency Preparedness Training Program. This training programs seeks to spread the message that in the event of an emergency people with access and functional needs need to, “be aware, plan, prepare and connect with the community.”
In order to emphasize the importance of Whole Community Inclusion in emergency preparedness planning, The Ready Family is used as an example in this training program. The Ready Family consists of Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Grandma and Grandpa Ready who all have a range of access and functional needs (e.g. physical/cognitive/sensory disabilities and medical dependence). Even though members of the Ready Family have access and functional needs, they are still highly involved and integrated in their community.
The target audience for this training is anyone with an access or functional need, as well as their families, friends and caregivers. At the end of The Readys Emergency Preparedness Training Program, participants will develop a personalized emergency plan and will receive a “Go Kit.” In the State of Connecticut the trainings are offered for free to the public, while people from other states can order training materials for $20. Organizations serving those with access/functional needs are encouraged to serve as host sites for this one-hour training program. View more information about this training program.
In addition to creating The Readys Emergency Preparedness Training Program, The Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities has also developed another helpful resource for the inclusion of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness planning. View the resource.
About Kendall Leser
Kendall Leser is a NACCHO Health and Disability Fellow and PhD candidate at The Ohio State University’s College of Public Health. She is interested in promoting the health of people with disabilities and their caregivers.