First responders got some first-hand tips Friday on how to help disabled people during a disaster.
The man leading the Long Beach conference was a senior adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and has turned his physical challenges into a national challenge.
He has neither arms nor legs, but he’s proud of what he’s been able to accomplish. Richard Devylder developed a course to help emergency crews assist the disabled.
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“We developed this course not to be California-centric,” he said.
Devylder said he wants those crews, community groups and even the media to be more aware of the special needs of the disabled during a disaster.
California is no stranger to disasters, so Devylder believes first responders and others should be prepared in advance.
He also said that the physically challenged should be prepared not to be helped.
“As an individual with a special need, you need to be prepared because the reality is – as I used to say when I worked for the California Emergency Management team – ‘I’m from the government and we’re not coming to help any time soon,’” he said. “If you’re waiting for help to come you’re going to lose your life or be injured.”
His advice to the news media was simple: make sure this message gets out on every platform.