A Great Way to End the Year: The BCCPD Wins Award of Excellence
The BCCPD, a leader in the field of emergency preparedness for people with disabilities, received an Award of Excellence for its commitment to ensuring the needs of people with disabilities are included in emergency planning and response. The award was presented to the Emergency Preparedness Committee and Chairperson Karen Martin at the 25th Annual Emergency Preparedness Conference held at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver November 6th-8th 2012. This recognition by the emergency management sector in British Columbia highlighted the BCCPD’s significant contribution to education, training and collaboration in the field. The BCCPD has provided training to hundreds of individuals and organizations across Canada.
BCCPD also operates SITE (Strategic Inclusive Training for Emergencies). Through SITE, we assist businesses, government departments and community organizations to develop customized emergency preparedness plans. We offer half-day and full-day workshops and give a 20% discount to non-profit organizations. For full details on the SITE program, please visit: www.bccpd.bc.ca/ourwork/ep/site.htm
The BCCPD also had an exhibit table at the conference, which gave committee members the opportunity to talk with many delegates, from all over BC and other provinces, about our work in emergency preparedness.
Emergencies Present Higher Risks for People with Disabilities: More Planning Is Urgently Needed
Following the 7.7 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sandspit BC the official message to people in low-lying communities was to evacuate to higher ground because of a potential tsunami. For people with disabilities and seniors with reduced or no mobility, anxiety issues and other health conditions, evacuation during emergencies is challenging unless preplanning has occurred. Evacuation is particularly difficult for individuals with disabilities and seniors who rely on accessible or custom transit in their communities. As well, people with disabilities and seniors who live on low-incomes and are less likely to be able to afford to pay for emergency preparedness kits.
Superstorm Sandy hit Southern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes and tens of thousands of people are without power. Power outages can be life threatening to people with disabilities who rely on medical equipment that requires electricity, such as ventilators and power wheelchairs.
“Emergency preparedness for individuals and communities that includes the needs of people with disabilities is critical, “ said Karen Martin of the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD). The BCCPD has been working on this issue for years to help ensure that community organizations, businesses and people with disabilities are prepared for all types of emergency events. “Social media is emerging as a very important tool in emergency response communications and is an area the BCCPD is promoting as well as the legal duty to accommodate,” said Karen.
The BCCPD is concerned that many communities in BC are not adequately prepared for ensuring that people with disabilities and seniors are safe in emergency events. When there are emergency events in other areas there is a relatively brief spurt of interest which declines fairly quickly. “The BCCPD urges people with disabilities, community organizations and businesses to plan ahead,” said Martin.
For more information contact Karen Martin, Emergency Preparedness Project Coordinator: BCCPD: 604 875-0188; email@example.com.
BCCPD’s Strategic Inclusive Training for Emergencies (SITE) program trains businesses and government on how to plan for people with disabilities and seniors in emergencies.