Disability Inclusive Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Resilience

WHO: Disability Inclusive Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Resilience (DIEPDR) is a multi-dimensional and universally applicable strategy allowing companies, governments, and organizations to ensure that all employees, customers, contractors, and others they serve are included and accommodated throughout all emergency preparedness, disaster response and continuity-of-operations plans.  Built by the World Institute on Disability, global experts on disability-inclusive emergency preparedness, disaster response and recovery, and community resilience, DIEPDR is designed to meet the emergency planning needs of employers and the people they serve, wherever they are.

WHAT: DIEPDR is a scaled analysis of existing disaster preparedness plans, policies, processes, and position responsibilities within a business, organization, or government agency. By providing an awareness of minimum, recommended, and exemplary standards, DIEPDR allows an organization to identify and address areas of risk and vulnerability. Organizations with social responsibility and interest in community equity and disaster resilience may move forward using DIEPDR to remediate gaps, protect their investment in their people, products, and communities and create and sustain a culture of universal inclusion and community resilience.

WHY: The COVID-19 Global Pandemic has taught that preparedness leading to rapid response is personal, corporate, community, national and global.  For sustainable resilience to resonate, the whole community must be included – including people with disabilities.  Any typical day, anywhere in the world, people can be found in their communities.  In North America, over 70% of daily activity is conducted in the private sector, where businesses serve as community hubs. While small and mid-sized businesses represent over 90% of all businesses, large corporations create their community and are leaders in their broader communities. For this reason, Companies and organizations of all sizes and missions cannot afford inadequate preparedness to respond to emergencies, maintain or resume operations, and recover from disasters of all kinds.  People with disabilities are 2-4 times more likely to be disproportionately impacted in a disaster, and if a disaster happens during business hours, these outcomes are the responsibility of the company or organization.

HOW: DIEPDR is designed to be used as a stand-alone tool or in conjunction with a broader disability inclusion evaluation effort such as Smart Business 4 All (SB4All). Using DIEPDR, a qualified expert will assist in identifying physical, programmatic, and communication strengths, gaps, and solutions before disaster strikes. Going a step further, organizations can identify additional benchmarks of performance that will establish them as premier models of disability-inclusive resilience.

Corporations, organizations, and governments wanting to reach the pinnacle of best practice will utilize their DIEPDR experience to achieve a Disability-Inclusive Emergency Preparedness Certification that recognizes their commitment to their employees, customers, and community.

WID has been involved in many disability inclusive disaster preparedness and response trainings over the past decade, including the following collaborations:

WID COVID-19 Response

WID joins disability rights and emergency management experts from across the country in issuing an urgent call to action for immediate strategies and solutions from the federal government and governments at every level, including local, state, tribal and territorial, to address the specific needs of persons with disabilities throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and all public health emergencies.

WID is working in collaboration with the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, the National Council on Independent Living Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee, and other local, national, and international groups to get people with disabilities the information, care, and supports to survive this pandemic.

World Institute on Disability (WID), the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies (the Partnership), and ONG Inclusiva have joined forces to form the Global Alliance for Disability Resource Acceleration (Global Alliance or GADRA) as a “Call-to-Action” to galvanize disability-led organizations, foundations, corporations, and other allies to identify needs and link partners to accelerate assistance and resources, both during and after disasters.

On July 9, 2020 we came together with our partners and disabled leaders from 39 countries to introduce the Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration, including our Steering Committee and Founder’s Circle.

Visit the links below to learn more about the Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration (GADRA) and WID’s COVID-19 response.

Banner with text: Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration. Global Alliance logo - 6 arrows wrapping up and around an abstract globe shape, each arrow a different color - red, orange, purple, blue, green, and gray. Background: large matching arrows stretch from the bottom left to the top right of the frame over a pale blue background.Banner text: COVID-19. Icon of N-95 mask with tiny WID globe on the filter, and two oversized coronavirus molecules. Background photo of an enlarged illustration of COVID molecules with magenta tint.


Additional Emergency Preparedness, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Resilience Projects

Paralysis & Disaster Readiness Educational Resources

WID received a grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to create disability-specific disaster readiness educational materials. Visit our Paralysis, Disability and Disaster Readiness page to find videos, pamphlets, policy papers, and more!

For more educational resources, please visit our Resources for People with Disabilities in Emergencies and Disasters page

American Red Cross

Together with the American Red Cross (ARC), WID launchedAmerican Red Cross Logo an innovative national training, awareness, and action program to help ARC staff and volunteers better serve people with disabilities during disasters.

WID’s Deputy Director, Thomas Foley, a member of the American Red Cross
National Diversity Advisory Council, works to improve emergency preparedness and disaster response by ARC staff and volunteers for people with
disabilities; facilitates collaboration between the ARC and local
community-based disability organizations; and increases understanding of the needs of people with disabilities in disaster situations.

FAST Trainings

WID’s Deputy Director, Thomas Foley also works with the California Department of Social Services as a trainer on their Functional Assessment Service Team (FAST) program to better support people with access and functional needs during a mass care and shelter incident.

Return to the Disability Inclusive Disaster & Climate Resilience page:

Banner text: Emergencies, Disasters, and Climate Resilience. Icon of WID globe with thermometer and thunder cloud. Background photo of satellite view of a hurricane, with emerald green tint.

For more information, contact Dawn Skaggs, WID’s Emergency, Disaster and Climate Resilience Specialist at dawn@wid.org.


If you are having technical issues or accessibility issues on this site, email wid@wid.org.

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