International Day of People with Disability: Working towards an accessible emergency sector for all

The effects of emergencies disproportionately impact people living with disabilities.

However, disability does not equate to vulnerability.

By improving the way we communicate and engage with people living with disability, we can reduce barriers to access, enabling better preparation for, response to and recovery from emergencies.

Watch the video (External link) of the sector's International Day of People with Disability event to find out how emergency management sector members (for example, those involved in response/recovery, community engagement, communications and public information) can assist in reducing the impacts of emergencies on people living with disability.

Panel discussion from:

  • Inspector-General Tony Pearce 
  • Colleen Furlanetto OAM, Ambulance Victoria Board Member, CFA Volunteer and VICSES Associate member, and Former Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria Disability Commissioner.
  • Nazim Erdem - Practice Leader, AQA Victoria
  • Shanleigh Meldrum - Section Leader: Events & Presentations, VICSES Gisborne Unit
  • Jim Mullan - CEO, AMAZE
  • Maurice Gleeson - President, Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria

includes insights from life experiences about:

  • barriers experienced when trying to access emergency information and community information sessions
  • good practice for effective engagement and partnership with people living with disability
  • good practice to improve access to emergency information and community events and engagements.

As a sector, we can improve disability-inclusive practice and strength-based approaches to meet the needs of those who can be most vulnerable to the impacts of emergencies.


A group of personnel at an incident control centre
Hume-Ovens Incident Control Centre personnel / Image courtesy DELWP