• Iain Philpott
  • Sophie Tarassenko
  • Moya Wood-Heath

Disaster Action was formed following a period that became known as the ‘decade of disasters’ in the UK - a series of predictable and preventable tragedies in the 1980s. Bereaved people and survivors from across many different disasters came together to form an umbrella organisation focussed on accountability, support and prevention in relation to disasters and their management. So began our unique work to support others directly affected by disasters and work with professionals involved in emergency planning and response and recovery.

Although every disaster is unique, there continue to be common features and experiences across many of them. These include identifiable causal factors in organisational planning, prevention, learning and accountability and significant human consequences in terms of loss, trauma and enduring impact. We continue to highlight the importance of understanding and addressing these before, during and after disaster strikes.

Our founding goals are just as relevant today:

Accountability – Our experiences of dealing with disaster highlight their longer term legal and political aftermath for all those affected both personally and professionally. We appreciate the importance of promoting personal responsibility and corporate accountability within organisations at all stages, both for disaster prevention and in order to learn lessons and act upon recommendations after tragedy. Our testimonies help explain the value of openness, honest and transparency within working practices and why a moral and legal duty of candour is important to embed within legal and wider cultural environments. Contact us for more information.

Support - We reflect the human stories behind news headlines and represent the collective interests of those directly affected by disasters. We draw on our personal experience and collective insight to inform, support and signpost those affected by disaster and those working with them. The practical advice and guidance we give is informed by our first-hand experience and our peer support generates a strong sense and feeling of connecting with others who ‘just get it’. Contact us to find out more.

Prevention – We understand the devastating impact of disasters that are later found to have been preventable.  Our perspective on health and safety and the freedom to speak up is based on our experiences of living with the aftermath of tragedy. We appreciate and highlight the importance of organisations investing in proactive measures of prevention and mitigation in what has often been found to be a neglected aspect of business practice. Contact us for more information on this.