Does your client have a plan for when emergency strikes?

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All too often, natural disasters strike towns and communities across Australia. Luckily, many of us have a plan, but for people who are ageing or live with a disability, seeking safety can prove difficult without the right tools, support and knowledge.

With this summer forecasted to be drier and hotter than usual, now is the time to start a conversation with your client about their safety plan for weather-related emergencies.

For people who are ageing or live with a disability and also live alone, transporting themselves to safety under stressful circumstances may be difficult, or even impossible without the right support.

An emergency toolkit for is now available for all Australians
Just last week, the University of Sydney released a new emergency toolkit created in partnership with the NSW Department of Justice and Office of Emergency Management after noticing a lack of support for vulnerable people during an emergency.

Dr Michelle Villeneuve of the University of Sydney’s Centre for Disability Research and Policy told the ABC of the strong reasonings behind the toolkit: “In the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake [in Japan], people with a disability lost their lives at four times the rate of others”.

“Just like any other citizen, people with a disability need to make sure they’ve taken steps and plans together with their support networks to be prepared themselves,” said Villeneuve.

The toolkit, Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (PCEP), is an essential tool for support providers, including support workers, to facilitate a conversation with clients about what to do in the event of an emergency.

A 4-step process to awareness, safety and preparedness
The PCEP toolkit includes four necessary steps that support providers should discuss with their client:

  1. Ask clients about their current level of emergency preparedness
  2. Start a discussion about their capabilities and everyday support needs
  3. Reconsider and discuss their capabilities and needs in the event of a home fire or natural hazard emergency
  4. Communicate and design a plan that works for them

How can you start an emergency plan conversation with your client?
Most Australians are at risk of experiencing a natural hazard or emergency such as a house fire, flood, heatwave, storm or bushfire, and those who live in a regional or rural area are even more likely to experience multiple natural hazards.

If you’re supporting an individual who lives independently but may not have a plan for emergencies, download the PCEP toolkit here, and take some time to recognise your clients’ capabilities and preparedness before suggesting a plan that works for them.

Ready to help out those living in your local community? Mable is an online platform that can help you connect to clients near you and begin a rewarding career in disability support and aged care. Discover what it’s like to be an independent support worker on Mable today.