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How we can help people with disability prepare for disasters

Ipswich City Council is championing inclusive disaster risk reduction as it joins forces with key community, government and disability service providers.

Council has partnered with the Queenslanders with Disability Network, the University of Sydney’s Centre for Disability Research and Policy and the State Government to promote disability inclusive disaster risk reduction.

Local Disaster Management Group chair Mayor Teresa Harding said the partnership would help the voices of Ipswich residents with disability be heard, understood and included in disaster risk management.

“Council is committed to supporting all of our residents to have a practical plan in place for when disaster strikes,” Mayor Harding said.

“At the last census, 17 per cent of Ipswich residents reported having a disability or caring for someone who does.

“This partnership is all about supporting the members of our community who are particularly vulnerable during disasters.”

The collaborative group is starting strong in 2021 with a workshop on Monday, 22 February.

Local Disaster Management Group deputy chair Councillor Kate Kunzelmann said the workshop would be a practical and interactive session for people with disability, their carers and supports, to start a Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness plan.

“We know that preparedness is our best defence against disaster,” Mayor Harding said.

“The upcoming workshop will help Ipswich residents with disability produce an emergency plan tailored to their capabilities and specific support needs using the Person-Centred Emergency Planning workbook.

“I encourage all Ipswich residents living with disability or a chronic health condition, or those who care for someone who does to come along to this workshop.”

The workshop will feature guest speakers including the University of Sydney’s Michelle Villeneuve, Queensland Disability Network peer leader Ipswich resident Peter Tully and Kristie Mckenna from council’s emergency management team. 

Start your emergency preparedness journey

Join us for a workshop in which you can:

  • learn about disaster risks in the Ipswich area, and where to go for information
  • learn about the four steps to increase your preparedness
  • start your own plan using the workbook.

When: Monday, 22 February at 10am to 12pm (with the option to continue planning after 12pm), with a free lunch provided

Where: Lockyer Room, Ipswich Civic Centre, 50 Nicholas Street, Ipswich Central

Register online via Eventbrite or call Queenslanders with Disability Network on 1300 363 783.

Mr Tully is a passionate advocate for the disability community and has long been promoting Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and person-centred planning.

“Ipswich has had its fair share of disasters which is why I believe that every person with disability – or everyone, really – should be looking at this workbook to prepare for future disasters,” Mr Tully said.

“After completing the Person-Centred Emergency Workbook, I bought a gas barbecue so that even if the power goes out in a storm, I can still boil water and cook food. These are the sort of examples that I will be sharing at the workshop on February 22.”

In the meantime, residents can help Ipswich emergency managers better understand the needs of people with disability in disaster by completing an online survey.

Residents can also get involved with the Queenslanders with Disability Network at the Ipswich Peer Support Group meetings. These meetings are held on the third Saturday of every month from February to November at 9am at 101 Limestone Street, Ipswich.

Visit the Ipswich City Council website for more information.

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