DRC-Disaster Research Center

Active Studies

Collaboration for Inclusive Emergency Preparedness and Response

Disaster Research Technical Advisor:Tricia Wachtendorf, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware
Principle Investigator: Ilka Riddle, Center for Disabilities Studies, University of Delaware
Graduate Research Assistant: Rochelle Brittingham
Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Developmental Disabilities

Study Description

This project seeks to make emergency planning for individuals with developmental disabilities (IWDD) more robust. To do so, the project has two main aims. The first is to implement emergency preparedness initiatives that incorporate IWDD into emergency plans. Current emergency plans will be reviewed to identify potential gaps in planning for IWDD. By understanding where the current emergency plans do not address the needs of IWDD, it is possible to make recommendations that would make plans more inclusive. The second aim is to help IWDD and their families prepare for disasters. This will be done by an increased and sustained emergency preparedness effort between IWDD and their families for disaster planning.

The study includes the following approaches:
1. An Advisory Council of individuals with diverse backgrounds to review policies and laws to identify potential gaps in the plans. Recommendations for emergency planning will be made as necessary.

2. A collaborative regional network to allow bordering states to share information, including resources and best practices, in order to enhance emergency preparedness needs of IWDD.

3. Collaborative training between emergency management and disability-focused organizations to enable planners and responders to fulfill IWDD's needs during an emergency.

4. An Emergency Preparedness Center to train and assist IWDD and their families to be both prepared and self-sufficient in emergencies.

5. Family restoration after a disaster supported by a web-portal.

6. Ongoing evaluation of these approaches to ensure the objectives and goals are achieved.