The pandemic has illustrated how crisis preparation and a swift response can dramatically change the outcome in the wake of an emergency. Individuals with disabilities, who live in the community, may not have the support or resources needed to be adequately prepared for an emergency, putting them at increased risk when a crisis arises. Building the capacity for both emergency preparedness and rapid response in the face of disasters, such as fires, floods, or a pandemic, will ensure Coloradans living with disabilities are protected.
One initiative to support future emergency preparedness is developing provider emergency preparedness and response plans. These will be resources that outline how providers will assist members with preparedness, and in the event of an emergency, how they will provide direct support. The Department will research national standards for emergency preparedness for various provider types. Based on that research, the Department will develop tools and resources for providers in developing emergency preparedness and response plans. These resources will be made readily available for current and new providers.
In addition to providing resources for providers, the Department will assist members with disabilities and those with mental health needs who live independently in the community to be prepared for potential emergencies by providing resources, supplies, and/or education. The Department will develop and execute a strategic plan to prepare members with disabilities, including behavioral health needs, for emergencies. The plan will address educational efforts, individual emergency plan development, and the distribution of resources and supplies, such as generators.