'When disaster strikes'
At times like these I can't help but think of my own preparedness, or lack thereof, in times of crisis. My ability to head for the hills in a flood or other natural disaster would be severely compromised by my disability. I thought about this a lot in the aftermath of the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria. For many people with disabilities, accessible taxis are their only mode of transport. Most wheelchair users know that accessible cabs can't even be relied upon to get us to work on time, let alone to safety in a life-threatening situation.
Disability organisations such as Queenslanders with Disabilities Network (QDN) have certainly been concerned about the safety of people with disabilities in the floods. In a statement issued yesterday, Manager Fran Vicary urged emergency services to ensure that people with disabilities were rescued and their needs taken care of. Ms Vicary said, "Many people with a disability live alone in the community and rely on support workers to visit them and assist with activities of daily living. Many of these people are vulnerable and cannot use communication technology or self-evacuate."
QND are working with Disability and Community care Service to conduct a phone-around to all people with disabilities for whom the two organisations have contact details. Ms Vicary also identified the likelihood that when the flood subsides and the water recedes, people may be faced with damaged equipment and technology that is uninsured and extremely difficult to replace.