April 20, 2004

Disaster Preparedness & Disability

Katja at Brokenclay Journal has begun an analysis of current initiatives to update disaster and evacuation policies. From her initial results it does not appear that we will hear shouts of "Women and children first!" at the next big disaster.

For background on he issue read the January 2004 news item at the National Organization on Disability.

For Brokenclay's insights

Read Conflict of Interest.

As I read more about disaster preparedness and emergency evacuation of disabled persons, I'm becoming conscious of a basic conflict between professional advice and the concerns of the potential evacuee (me!).

The primary organizational concern seems to be that those who are able to evacuate without assistance not be hindered or harmed by efforts to evacuate a disabled person.

I will make a prediction here based on my firsthand and online experience explaining the necessity and sovereignty of disabled parking spaces to illegal interlopers. Public consensus on equality of access has broken down and response to advocacy on the part of persons with disabilities is not ikely to be civil.

Questions for comment:

  • What is an appropriate principle to follow with regard to persons with disabilities in disasters and evacuations?
  • Are there patterns to the way these principles are being applied in the travel and hospitality industry?
  • What is the value of persons with disabilities as travelers, guests - as consumers - expressed in cases of misapplied principles?

  • Posted by rollingrains at April 20, 2004 05:06 AM | TrackBack

    I appreciate your comments, Scott.

    My experience last month during a fire alarm in a California hotel reinforced that I need to take personal responsibility for my safety; I used the elevator to evacuate despite the hotel's automatic fire doors (every woman for herself), and was somewhat taken aback to observe that the staff didn't seem to see the learning opportunity that this false alarm presented (comments I got were along the line of "Wow, you were smart to try and get out fast like you did" - a personal, not institutional response).

    Posted by: Katja at April 21, 2004 03:23 PM