Top of page

First responders train to help disabled people in disaster

Emergency medical service

Whitestown –  When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, Emergency Services Director Kevin W. Revere said a viral image of nursing home residents wheelchair-deep in water changed the way Oneida County responds to disabled peoples during emergencies.

“There’s a lot more conversation going on,” Revere said on Wednesday.

“It’s all about communication, between emergency management, the first-responders, these agencies and the clientele too.”

As part of the new conversations and procedures, a two-day training session was held this week at the State Preparedness Training Center to teach local treatment personnel how best to respond and interact with disabled people in a crisis. The class was held for employees of such agencies as Upstate Cerebral Palsy, Betsy Ross Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, the Utica Fire Department and the Eastern Air Defense Sector, among others.

“The ultimate goal is that we have the county emergency management offices coming together with the disability community to have ongoing, monthly planning and preparedness councils or advisory groups,” said David V. Whalen, the lecturer.

“We’re teaching them how to understand the disabilities, and we’re also teaching them how to pull together the process of proper response.”

Whalen is the project director of the First Responder Disability Awareness Training group from Niagara University near Niagara Falls. He said he is using grant money from the New York State Development Disabilities Planning Council to tour the state giving classes to first-responders and emergency management personnel in how to properly treat disabled people.

The biggest problem, Whalen said, is that emergency personnel “don’t recognize or understand the disabilities. They don’t know how to identify it. They’ll respond to a disability not knowing it’s a disability.”

Read the original story

You might also like

blind person using audio book player for visually impaired, listening to audio book on his computer. blind person using audio book player for visually impaired, listening to audio book on his computer.

Lack of accessible crisis communication endangers lives of disabled people

Australians with disabilities are at risk from the impacts of…

Man in wheelchair in front of the stairs Man in wheelchair in front of the stairs

Strategies for rescuing disabled elderly during disasters

Disasters can strike suddenly, leaving communities weak and in vital…

Elderly men and boy on dry ground Elderly men and boy on dry ground

US announces projects to support Caribbean climate resilience

In Georgetown, Guyana at the 46th Regular Meeting of the…

Tropical cyclone catarina hurricane clouds Tropical cyclone catarina hurricane clouds

WFP, Fiji govt partner to safeguard vulnerable communities from cyclones

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has signed a…