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Supporting people who are more at risk

We are all more at risk at different points in our lives and equally have characteristics that contribute to resilience. There is an inherent fluidity of vulnerability and resilience, and our circumstances are always changing. This means the extent to which we can prepare for, cope with and recover from emergencies also changes from time to time.

Some people’s circumstances mean they might have more difficulties than others in responding, coping and recovering from a major incident. It is important that major incident preparedness, response and recovery efforts adopt a strengths based approach that builds on existing capability rather than focusing on solely on vulnerabilities.

Factors that may impact on a person’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from a major incident include:

  • Geographical and/or social isolation
  • Limited access to transport, requiring assistance to relocate to safer areas or access resources
  • Physical ability
  • Cognitive ability
  • People with pre-existing mental health conditions
  • People who have previously experienced trauma
  • Chronic illness
  • Socio-economic disadvantage
  • Limited support networks
  • Carers of older people or people with a disability, particularly if carers are older and financially disadvantaged themselves
  • People who are experiencing, or are at risk of, family violence
  • People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • People with existing health conditions which may be exacerbated by the effects of a major incident, for example loss of power, loss of water, difficulties in accessing health services, difficulties in accessing medicines or other supplies
  • Limited financial means which impacts on insurance for losses, or limited savings to rely on in the event that their income is impacted due to interruptions in employment.

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