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Research about disabilities and crisis management

People with disabilities are usually not included in crisis management work since they are seen as vulnerable persons and in need of assistance. Planning and risk analyses are often performed without input from people with disabilities.

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Anna-Lisa Osvalder, Chalmers University

This research project held a crisis management exercise as a role play for 3 hours performed in a city environment. The exercise gathered crisis management professionals and people with different types of disabilities. The crisis scenario was unserviceable water followed by a power blackout. The participants should move to a safety place (trygghetspunkt) where they could receive further information and necessities, ask questions, and get help with their concerns. Afterwards a debriefing session was held discussing collaboration and lessons learned.

Five crisis management people from three municipalities and seven people with various types of disabilities (wheel-chair users, blind people, people with cognitive or intellectual disabilities). The session was held by a four researchers who played different roles in the scenario.

The crisis management professionals gained new and sometimes unexpected insights from the questions and issues raised by the people with disabilities.

  • The crisis management professionals gained a deeper understanding of weaknesses of the group (need of electricity for wheelchairs, need to get in contact with family and assistants, worries about other people and pets, need immediate answers on questions)
  • The people with disabilities helped each other when talking to the professionals, and understood each other’s worries well
  • The people with disabilities gained a realistic and tangible understanding of how potential crisis scenarios actually could affect them

Title of the project
People with disabilities as active resources in crisis management

Latest reviewed: 13 September 2023

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