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By Mary Gray,2014-06-16 18:26
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Wheelchair users and sensory Disability : what it means to

    impaired people are an important us and our community’s

    minority of the total disabled response

    population, but the majority of

    disabled people have other, often Disability in the United

    less visible, disabilities. Trends Kingdom and Lancashire

    show that amongst adults,

    increasing numbers are reporting It is estimated that there are

    mental illness and behavioural currently approximately 11

    disorders, whilst the number of million disabled adults and

    people reporting physical 770,000 disabled children in the

    impairments is decreasing. United Kingdom (equivalent to

     one in five of the total adult

    What counts as a disability population). However it is

    according to the law? difficult to identify the exact

     numbers as many of the

    According to the Disability Rights estimated numbers of disabled

    Commission, the Disability people do not see themselves as

    Discrimination Act (DDA) sets disabled, and only 3 million

    out the circumstances in which a people claim disability-related

    person is ‘disabled’. It states that benefits or use services

    you are disabled if you have, ‘A specifically aimed at disabled

    mental or physical impairment, people.

    which has an adverse effect on The population of Lancashire is

    1your ability to carry out normal currently 1,402,400. According day to day activities’, and if the to the Office for National adverse effect is ‘substantial’ and Statistics 2001 Census, the ‘long-term’ (meaning that it has population within the lasted for 12 months or is likely geographical areas served by

    to last for more than 12 months Lancashire Fire and Rescue or for the rest of your life). Service was 1,414,731 and of this 20.7% of people had a long-2There are some special term illness, compared with provisions, for example: 18.2% for England and Wales.

    ? If your impairment has

    substantially affected your

    ability to carry out normal day to day activities, but doesn’t

    any more, it will still be

    1 Taken from Lancashire County Council Research counted as having that effect

    Monitors 2if it is likely to do so again Limiting long term illness covers any long term

    illness, health problem or disability which limits daily

    activities or work

    ? If you have a progressive ? Memory or ability to

    condition, and it will concentrate, learn or

    substantially affect your ability understand

    to carry out normal day to day ? Understanding the risk of

    activities in the future, you will physical danger

    be regarded as having an The Disability Discrimination

    impairment which has a Act

    substantial adverse effect In December 2005 The Disability from the moment the condition Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 has some effect on your ability was amended to place a duty on to carry out normal day to day all public bodies to promote activities. disability equality. The Disability ? If you have been diagnosed Equality Duty requires the public

    as having cancer, HIV sector to actively promote

    infection or multiple sclerosis, disability equality.

    you will automatically be

    The Act sets out what is known considered as ‘disabled’.

    as the General Duty. This ? If you are registered as blind

    means that public bodies must or partially sighted, or certified

    have ‘due regard’ to the need to as blind or partially sighted by

    eliminate unlawful discrimination a consultant ophthalmologist,

    and promote equal opportunities you will automatically be

    for disabled people. considered as ‘disabled’.

    Consideration must also be given ? People who have had a

    to the elimination of harassment disability in the past but are no

    of disabled people, promotion of longer disabled are covered

    positive attitudes and the need to by certain parts of the DDA.

    encourage the participation of

    disabled people in public life. What are ‘normal day to day

    activities’? The Regulations give key public

     bodies a Specific Duty, which will

    At least one of these areas must define for them a framework to be substantially affected: use to meet the General Duty.

     The main element of this will be

    the requirement to produce a ? Mobility

    Disability Equality Scheme. ? Manual dexterity

     ? Physical co-ordination

    A Disability Equality Scheme is a ? Continence

    strategy for change with a ? Ability to lift, carry or move

    realistic action plan. It outlines everyday objects

    the public authority’s overall ? Speech, hearing or eyesight

    equality vision and specific

    approach to disability equality.

    The scheme builds on and ? Demonstrate that we have informs the corporate aims and taken the actions they have objectives. The purpose of committed ourselves to, developing a scheme is to and achieved appropriate identify ways in which unlawful outcomes. discrimination can be eliminated Specific Duties: Employment and be proactive in promoting disability equality. It is not Regulation 2 (3)(d)(i) states that always about changes to an Authority must establish buildings or adjustments for individuals. Moreover it is about ‘arrangements for being able to demonstrate gathering information on positive cultural change that the effect of its policies and consideration for and inclusion of practices on disabled disabled people and disability persons and in particular its equality is threaded through arrangements for gathering everything the service does. information on their effect

     on the recruitment, In the process of producing this development and retention Disability Equality Scheme of its disabled employees’

    Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service must: Involving Disabled People in

    Developing the Scheme ? Involve disabled people in

     producing the scheme and

    On 26 July 2006, we participated developing the action plan.

    in an event hosted by Wyre

    ? Identify how we will gather Borough Council, and alongside

    and analyse evidence to a number of agencies, such as

    inform their actions and Blackpool and the Fylde College,

    track progress. Lancashire County Council,

    Wyre Housing Association, ? Set out how we will assess

    Myerscough College, The the impact of our existing

    Pension Service and Lancashire and proposed activities on

    Constabulary, to find out what we disabled people.

    could do as an organisation to

    ? Produce an action plan for improve our services and access

    the next three years. for disabled people and how we

    can involve disabled people in ? Report on our progress

    the decisions we make. At the every year and review and

    start of this event it was make appropriate revisions

    explained that the views given by to this scheme at least

    disabled people attending would every three years.

    be used to inform our work as we

    promote equality for disabled ? how disabled people would people. Initially the attendees like to be kept informed about were asked what life in the future events, and involved Borough was like for them, what more widely in improving were the bad points and what services and facilities could be done better. Later sessions focussed on specific The event was held at the Marine areas relating to the individual Hall in Fleetwood, which was organisations. Lancashire Fire audited for accessibility prior to and Rescue Service asked : the event. Sign language

     interpreters were available ? if disabled people knew what throughout the day and the

    services the Fire Service colleges provided a range of

    offered, such as home fire assistive technology and

    safety checks, alarm fitting, produced papers in Braille.

    and discussing fire evacuation Transport costs were reimbursed

    plans for those requesting assistance.

    Disabled people and disability ? if disabled people could

    organisations were involved in identify the issues for them as

    planning the event and agreeing a disabled person in terms of

    the format for the day. fire safety or evacuation

     ? if disabled people ever

    The event was publicised using considered visiting the fire

    existing contact lists from Wyre stations or the headquarters,

    Borough Council, through Wyre and if they had, whether they

    Disability partnership, and the had experienced any

    networks of the organisations difficulties accessing the

    such as ours, taking part. In grounds, buildings or facilities

    addition, an open invitation was ? how easy or difficult it is for

    issued via the local media. 54 disabled people to get in

    people attended the event, touch with us, by any method

    including those representing of communication

    disability organisations, and ? if disabled people were aware

    individuals. of the range of roles available

     within the Fire Service, such

    On 30 September 2006 we took as Community Safety,

    part in a similar event at The Prince’s Trust programmes for

    Royal Preston Hospital hosted by young people, including

    West Lancashire Primary Care disabled people, and other

    Trust and involved disabled support posts including those

    people from the West Lancashire in administration

    and Preston areas.

    Lancashire Fire and Rescue ? Some disabled people were Service also attended a unaware of the specialist fire Blackburn with Darwen Local safety advice, information and Strategic Partnership Workforce equipment we can provide Representation Group event held ? Some disabled people were at Ewood Park on 9 November not aware of the wide range of 2006. Both public and private initiatives the Service sector organisations attended promotes, such as Prince’s this event aimed at involving our Trust, Young Firefighters, disabled community in the School Mentors etc development of our Disability ? Some disabled people were Equality Schemes. It is planned unaware of the provision of that this event will be repeated community rooms at some annually, once organisations stations and hearing loop have published their Disability systems Equality Schemes, so that we ? Some disabled people were can feed back to our community unaware of our mini-com on our actions and outcomes. service, or our 0800 telephone

     number These events provided us with ? Not all disabled people have an excellent opportunity to learn access to on-line information the views and receive feedback ? In general, disabled people from disabled people within the were unaware of the variety of County of Lancashire. The roles available within the Fire feedback has provided us with Service, including any the basis to formulate our volunteering opportunities Disability Equality Scheme ? A point was made that Action Plan and set priorities organisations in general over the coming three years for should be more proactive achieving that plan. about facilities for the disabled rather than reacting with Key Issues ‘reasonable adjustment’ if employing a disabled member A number of perceptions of staff emerged from these involvement ? A general observation was sessions, which fall in line with made about office furniture other surveys we have not being ‘DDA friendly’ and a undertaken in some cases: suggestion made that as new ? Some disabled people were office furniture was procured, unaware of our preventative it should fulfil the and community fire safety requirements, eg desks function

    should have bright edging for

    partially sighted people. ? It was suggested that the Fire

    Service should develop a

    database of disabled

    members of the community so

    that we would be aware of any

    specific needs in the event of

    being called out to an address

    (although it was recognised

    that there were a number of

    practical issues in gathering

    the data in a comprehensive

    way and keeping it up to date,)

The Future

In terms of how disabled people

    would like us to progress from

    here, key points were identified

    as:

    ? Hold similar workshops or

    meetings

    ? Produce bulletins or

    newsletters to be distributed

    either via hard copy or email ? Post articles in local free

    papers

    ? Hold open days at fire stations

    ? Provide transport to

    workshops or open days and

    pay consultees to encourage

    participation

    ? Involve disabled people more

    in volunteering activities, eg

    mentoring

    ? In general, awareness needs

    raising of the spectrum of

    disabilities, eg diabetes and

    stroke

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