More than 32,000 residents were evacuated during last year's Waldo Canyon Fire, the costliest wildfire in Colorado history. Following the incident, local organizations supporting people with disabilities surveyed this population on accessibility barriers they experienced during the evacuation. (See the resultshere, under "advocacy.")
Barriers related to effective communication strategies, transporation, and shelter access were noted, as were solutions to these problems, including the possibility of increasing collaboration between government agencies and local health care resources.
In her latest NFPA Journal column, Molly Mowery, NFPA's program manager for Fire Adapted Communities and International Outreach, takes this information a step further. "This information focused on the wildfire itself, but shouldn't we also apply these findings to long-term pre- and post-disaster planning?" she questions.
Mowery also provides a handful of suggestions for emergency preparedness plans that account for all segments of a city's population. Read her thoughts in the March/April edition of NFPA Journal.