Forum launches person-centred emergency planning for people with disabilities

The Disability Inclusive Emergency Planning (DIEP) Forum, with facilitator Associate Professor Michelle Villeneuve.

THE City of Coffs Harbour (CoCH) hosted a Disability Inclusive Emergency Planning (DIEP) Forum on Wednesday 26 April at Cavanbah Hall, to help empower the community to prepare to keep each other as safe as possible in the event of a disaster.

Luke Barbagallo, the Community Resilience Recovery Coordinator from CoCH was in attendance for the day, welcoming Michelle Villeneuve from the University of Sydney’s ‘Leave nobody behind’ project, who facilitated a day of lively discussion.

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A full room of people attended from emergency services, local support services and government agencies, alongside local community members with disabilities.

Attendees took part in group activities which focused on the ‘Person-centred Emergency Preparedness’ (P-CEP) process.

Attendees workshopped together to think about actions we can all take to make sure people with disabilities are safe in emergencies.

This covers preparing for emergencies, being safe when emergencies happen and recovering well after emergencies.

When asked about their key take-outs from the day, attendees offered a range of responses which summarised how they had enjoyed working together with people from different parts of our community to gain knowledge, tools and understanding that led to inclusivity and collaboration.

Service providers expressed how they’d appreciated the opportunity to gain insights directly from participants with disabilities – who shared their own knowledge and experiences of recent flood and fire emergencies.

The forum was a success in starting an important discussion on disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction in the community.

To continue the momentum from the DIEP forum, the CoCH is launching the P-CEP Connects community of practice for service organisations, emergency services, government, and community members who wish to learn how to better prepare, respond and recover from disaster no matter what age or ability, using the Person-centred Emergency Preparedness process.

For more information and to join Coffs Coast PCEP Connects, contact Luke Barbagallo at


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