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Red Cross helps Australia's Deaf community get prepared for disasters

A new project involving Australian Red Cross and the Deaf Society of NSW will give Australia's Deaf community better access to vital disaster preparedness information

Monday November 7, 2016

The Get Ready project will help Australia's Deaf community prepare for  disasters
The Get Ready project will give Australia's Deaf community better access to disaster preparedness information

Australian Red Cross has turned its RediPlan disaster preparedness guide into a suite of engaging Auslan videos to help people with hearing impairments get prepared for emergencies and disasters. Auslan - an acronym of 'Australian Sign Language' - is the sign language of the Australian Deaf community and is used by some 30,000 people nationwide. 

RediPlan Auslan is now available via the Deaf Society's website.

The resource was developed as part of the Get Ready project; a partnership between The Deaf Society, Australian Red Cross, NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW SES, Fire & Rescue NSW, and Sydney University.

In addition to the disaster preparedness videos, the Get Ready project is recruiting and training deaf liaison officers, offering deaf awareness training for emergency services personnel and creating emergency preparedness workshops for the Deaf community to help people in the community.

"Australian Red Cross is delighted to have collaborated with the Deaf Society of NSW to bring RediPlan's preparedness messages to the Deaf Community," says John Richardson, national coordinator for Australian Red Cross' emergency services preparedness program.

"An emergency can disrupt people's lives in ways they don't expect. People experience stress and anxiety, relationship problems and financial hardships, often for years to come. Being prepared makes it much easier for people to recover.

"Speech Pathology Australia reports that one in seven Australians has some form of communication disability, and one in six Australians are affected by hearing loss. As more than 500,000 Australians have been affected by disasters in the past 10 years, the Get Ready project will go a long way in helping a large number of people from the Deaf community prepare for emergencies and plan to protect what matters most to them."

Get Ready Project Officer, Genevieve Roberts says: "Get Ready is a multi-agency and all-hazard project, which is why RediPlan was the ideal resource for our emergency preparedness workshops. With its ethos of personal and community responsibility, RediPlan is the perfect teaching tool in the Get Ready context."

Making preparedness more accessible
In a bid to make preparedness messaging accessible to even more people, Australian Red Cross is also exploring opportunities to create an audio version of RediPlan for the vision impaired and aural learners, an Easy English version for people with lowered cognitive abilities and an illustrated version for visual learners.

More information
RediPlan is a free guide that helps people get prepared for disasters in four simple steps. It's available at

RediPlan Auslan is available through the Deaf Society's website