On Thin Ice - Emergency and Disaster Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities in Canada's Arctic North
The overall objective of On Thin Ice (OTI), developed by GAATES, is to protect lives and improve the security, well-being, and inclusion of persons with disabilities (physical, cognitive and sensory) and other vulnerable populations in the Arctic. The Arctic is experiencing a massive transformation and with it an increased risk of natural and human-made disasters. Under the imminent risk of disasters, it is persons with disabilities that are most vulnerable.
The On Thin Ice project uses an inclusive design approach to bring emergency preparedness to persons with disabilities. Training of first responders, live exercises, creation of emergency preparedness kits and installation of accessible alerting systems are some of the tools developed in the OTI project.
The tools and resources will be particularly helpful to northern emergency planners, emergency management organizations (EMOs), as well as first responders and others who are responsible for the overall safety of Canada’s northern communities. They are also important to persons with disabilities to learn how they can prepare for emergencies, how they can participate in the community planning process, as well as services and resources that may be available to them.
Inclusive design was also considered in the presentation of the material by making it available in English, French, Dene and Inuktitut. Plain language and pictograms were considered in the materials. It was also presented in workshops and simulations.