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Training and workshops

AccessibleEU European Event - Providing assistance to persons with disabilities in emergencies (24-WS-EU-02)

This workshop is co-organised by the AccessibleEU Centre and the European Emergency Number Association (EENA). 

Emergencies are increasingly becoming more frequent worldwide. During the past few years, Europe has experienced a large number disasters that have affected great populations. The summer of 2023 was particularly destructive due to extreme weather conditions. Severe rainfall, flash floods heatwaves, drought and wildfires, among others, caused damage to life, communities and businesses in several European countries. These events also caused millions of euros in economic losses.

Persons with disabilities are among the most affected by these events. This is due not only to the risk posed by disasters but also to the lack of emergency protocols that consider their real needs. Some of the problems people with disabilities face during emergencies are the following:

  • Lack of accessibility of early warning information
  • Lack of knowledge on inclusive assistance from emergency responders
  • Inaccessible communication systems that prevent them from asking for help
  • Instructions from emergency responders can be difficult to understand
  • Being rescued without their assistive devices or assistance animals
  • Inaccessible escape routes and shelters
  • Lack of personal preparedness plans

The purpose of this event is to exchange knowledge about inclusive assistance provided to persons with disabilities in emergency situations. Specifically, it aims to provide insight on good practices on emergency preparedness and protocols, needs and experiences of persons with disabilities in these events, and training needs of first responders, and emergency managers regarding how to assist people with disabilities. 

  • Target audience: Emergency managers, first responders and operators, persons with disabilities and their representatives, carers, public administrations, higher education institutions, and the general public. 
  • When:Tuesday, May 7, 2024
  • Format: Online
  • Type of event: Workshop and mutual learning session
  • Language: English
  • How to participate: Connect to the event
  • Accessibility information: Captioning and sign interpretation in English.
  • inclusion | emergency aid
  • Tuesday 7 May 2024, 09:30 (CEST)


  1. 7 May 2024, 09:30 - 13:30 (CEST)

    9:30 – 9:45 Welcome session. Chair: Jesús Hernández. Speakers:

    • Jesús Hernández, Director. AccessibleEU Centre
    • Birgit Snoeren, Policy Officer. European Commission. DG European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
    • Cristina Lumbreras, Technical Director. EENA

    9:45-10:00 Keynote speech

    • Persons with disabilities: neglected people in emergency activities. Giampiero Griffo, European Disability Forum

    10:00 – 11:15 Roundtable 1. Remote assistance in emergencies. Chair: Cristina Lumbreras, EENA. Speakers:

    • Accessibility in 112 – Freddie McBride, Director of Digital Communications Policy and Regulation. EENA.
    • Záchranka app – Filip Maleňák, Managing Director. Medical Information Technologies, sro.
    • Hard of Hearing people and emergencies. Lessons and good practice – Lidia Best, President. European Federation of Hard of Hearing People (EFHOH). 
    • SVisual: Comunication tool for deaf people and their link to emergency services – Max Godoy. Confederación Estatal de Personas Sordas y CESTEL
    • Attention and management of emergency calls from individuals with disabilities at Ilunion Emergencias Center – Pilar Zamora. Ilunion Emergencias.

    11:15-11:30 Q&A
    11:30-13:00 Roundtable 2. Onsite assistance in emergencies. Chair: Paloma Cid, Fundación ONCE. Speakers:

    • Using pictograms to improve communication in emergencies – Lieutenant Colonel Emilio Verón. Guardia Civil.
    • Providing inclusive emergency shelter in international emergencies: The RescEU Shelter programme – Elena Giral, RescEU Shelter Programme Coordinator. European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, European Commission.
    • Inclusive co-creation of crisis plans and emergency kits– Linda Stjernholm. University of Lund.
    • Inclusive preparedness for emergency situations on cruise ships – Elsa DeGoias, Royal Caribbean Group.
    • Best practices in accessibility training for first responders and emergency management organisations (EMO) and departments – Marnie Peters, Accessibility Consultant. Accessibility Simplified.

    13:00 – 13:15 Q&A
    13:15 – 13:30 Closing remarks

Practical information

Tuesday 7 May 2024, 09:30 (CEST)