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ISO publishes new standard giving guidance for supporting vulnerable persons

The International Organization for Standardization has published a new standard: ISO 22395:2018 Security and resilience - Community resilience - Guidelines for supporting vulnerable persons in an emergency

The number of disasters and emergencies  in the world have  been increasing, a trend that is expected to continue. Everyone should remain safe in an emergency. But for some, it’s more difficult. Children may be separated from families, those with chronic conditions can lose access to critical medicines, others may need assistance with evacuation and accessing emergency services.

It is widely acknowledged that people who are vulnerable in emergencies require specific kinds of assistance. However, there is less understanding and guidance on how to recognise the individuals who are vulnerable in different emergency situations, and how to support them. This new International Standard considers the preparatory measures for involving vulnerable people and their representatives in decisions made about assistance before, during and after an emergency.

Lisa Ficklin, project leader responsible for ISO 22395,  explains: Lisa Ficklin

Based on extensive field research and experience from our member countries, we know that for vulnerable populations, successful disaster response is dependent upon careful planning. This new Standard provides guidance on how to address the needs of vulnerable people not only immediately after a disaster, but also how to address long-term response and how to develop a plan to support vulnerable people in the event of an emergency.”

Key features:

This document gives guidelines for organizations to identify, involve, communicate with and support individuals who are the most vulnerable to natural and human-induced (both intentional and unintentional) emergencies. It also includes guidelines for continually improving the provision of support to vulnerable persons in an emergency.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • Identifying types of vulnerability
  • Communicating with vulnerable people in emergencies
  • How to provide practical support (physical and psychosocial)
  • Planning for travel from the affected area and emergency sheltering
  • Continual improvement

Benefits to targeted audience:

This new international standard will provide organizations with more information on how to identify vulnerable populations within their communities.  It includes processes and tools that could help organizations to better anticipate needs and provide information to the right people at the right time before, during, and after emergencies.   

ISO 22395 is applicable to all types and sizes of organizations that are involved in emergency preparation, response and recovery activities, such as local, regional and national governments; statutory bodies; international and non-governmental organizations; businesses; and public and community groups.

ISO 22395:2018, Security and resilience - Community resilience - Guidelines for supporting vulnerable persons in an emergency, is available from ISO national member institutes. It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, respectively through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department.