Thousands of people have been impacted, including many disabled people, by the bushfires burning throughout Victoria and the rest of the country.
The disability community can be particularly vulnerable during bushfires due to a lack of accessible information, emergency housing, vital equipment and many other factors.
Below are some useful resources for disabled Victorians who are impacted by the bushfires.
Bushfire resources for Victorians with disability
Protecting your health when it's smoky outside
- With the next few days set to be smoky around Victoria check out the Environment Protection Authority Victoria guide to protecting your health when it is smoky outside.
- You can check current air quality around Victoria at EPA Airwatch.
Accessible emergency accommodation
- Accessible Accommodation has launched a Facebook group to connect people with disability who have had to evacuate with people offering safe and accessible places to stay. Join the group here.
- Find A Bed Australia links people who need a place to stay during the bushfires with people who are offering spare beds.
Accessible guides for staying safe in a bushfire
- The Council for Intellectual Disability has created an Easy English bushfire information guide for people with intellectual disability in NSW (but most of the guide is relevant for Victorians too). Download the guide here.
- The CFA (Country Fire Authority) has an Easy English guide on how to stay safe in a bushfire. Download the guide here.
- Expression Australia has bushfire safety guides in Auslan for the Deaf community. Watch the videos here.
- Expression Australia also share Auslan bushfire updates via their Facebook page.
- Early Connections Alliance has developed a Bush Fire Social Story for children that explains bushfires. Download the social story here.
- IDEAS Disability Information has an easy-to-follow guide to packing for an emergency. Read it here.
NDIS and disability supports
- The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has information for participants affected by bushfires on their website. Click here for NDIS bushfire information and support.
- Anyone who needs assistance with their NDIS supports can call 1800 800 110 from 8am - 8pm (Monday to Friday) this week.
- NDIS participants impacted by the bushfires are being prioritised so that they continue to receive disability supports, including any additional supports such as replacing equipment, additional care or therapies.
Emergency payments from Services Australia (Centrelink)
- Australians who have been impacted by bushfires in declared regions can claim disaster payments through Services Australia (Centrelink).
- To find out more about how to apply for an emergency payment in Victoria visit the Australian Governments Victorian Bushfires webpage. You can also call 180 22 66.
Disability organisations you can contact for support
- IDEAS Disability Information has information officers available to help people with disability impacted by the fires. You can send them a message or free call 1800 029 904. They can provide information about the latest bushfire help, emergency payments, accessibility accommodation and more.
- Gippsland Disability Advocacy Inc. is currently at the relief centre in Bairnsdale. They are supporting people with disability who have been impacted by the Gippsland bushfires. They are making sure that people with disability get the information and referrals they need and that their voices are heard.
- Stay up-to-date on what's happening via the Vic Emergency website: http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond
- If you are in an emergency, please call 000.
Stay safe, and look out for each other.