Crisis Readiness Includes People with Disabilities

first_imgA unique emergency training program for persons with disabilities will take place in Halifax Tuesday, Sept. 28 and Wednesday, Sept. 29. The Emergency Management Office and the Emergency Preparedness Committee for Persons with Disabilities have teamed up to offer the training to specifically address the needs of persons with disabilities. It is the first of its kind in the province. The initial program will train about 35 new trainers who will take it throughout the province. “The program is very timely. Hurricanes Earl and Igor were reminders of how vulnerable we all are,” said Ramona Jennex, Minister of Emergency Management. “Our objective is to make life better for Nova Scotians in every region. This often means responding to different and unique needs.” Preparations for emergencies such as Juan, White Juan and Hurricane Earl pose challenges for everyone, but for Nova Scotians with disabilities the obstacles can be profoundly greater. Barriers could include reduced access to emergency messages for persons with hearing or sight disabilities, or reduced mobility and independence for others due to injuries or illnesses. Craig MacKinnon, a researcher with the Disabled Persons Commission, said storms and other disasters can have a dramatic impact on the health, security and safety of persons with disabilities. “This program is designed to give persons with disabilities and seniors very specific and practical information that could save their lives.” While the course is led and supported by the Emergency Management Office, more than a dozen volunteer, community and government agencies have worked co-operatively on the project. A booklet called Are You Ready was created to provide disability specific tips to be as prepared and self-sufficient as possible during the first 72 hours during an emergency. The training will take place at the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority Centre, 5940 South St., Halifax. Ms. Jennex described the initiative as part of a larger project to insure that all Nova Scotians are well prepared for any and all emergencies.last_img

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