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Emergency Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities Event - Recap

From the City of Ottawa

The City of Ottawa recently hosted a virtual public information session and discussion on emergency preparedness for persons with disabilities. Coordinated by the Accessibility Office, the session included presentations from staff in the Office of Emergency Management and Ottawa Public Health who provided information and resources with a focus on key emergency preparedness considerations for those living with disabilities and older adults.

There has been an increase in climate-related emergencies in recent years, including heavy winds and tornadoes, heavy rainfall and flooding, as well as extreme cold and heat events. Additionally, as the City of Ottawa is the Nation’s Capital, political demonstrations and protests have also contributed to various recent emergency events and responses.

As such, when planning for emergencies, whether that requires sheltering in place or evacuating, all residents, including those with disabilities, should consider emergency planning that is tailored to their personal situation.

During the event, staff in the Office of Emergency Management highlighted the importance of social connections and personal support, having a plan for assistive devices, including back-up options in the event of a power outage, as well as considerations for the management of your health, including ensuring you have an adequate supply of medication.

Staff in Ottawa Public Health presented on the diversity of our personal experiences, and that emergency preparedness is not "one size fits all". Staff provided considerations for either sheltering in place or evacuating, such as providing emergency contacts with extra keys to be able to access your home, as well as important elements to include in your emergency kit and/or a go bag, including supplies needed for pets and service animals.

Following the presentations, participants had the opportunity to engage with City staff with concerns, questions and feedback on the topic.

Staff in the City’s Accessibility Office will be compiling all feedback, shared during the event, the evaluation survey and post-event, for discussion with the Office of Emergency Management and Ottawa Public Health to inform future actions.

For those unable to attend the virtual event live, you can watch the recording on the City’s YouTube channel.


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