Friday, July 24, 2015

25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act. And?

Twenty-five years under the Americans with Disabilities Act yet many communities are still coming to terms with inclusion for all members of the 'whole community' to be involved in all phases of the emergency management process (planning, preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation).  Individuals that fall under the ADA are just one special group within the whole community.

The homeless, displaced families, poor, and inclusion of all minority and disadvantaged groups, ex-offender, and the elderly.  Each must be involved in the process as stakeholders of the community.

The recent class action suit (http://www.cleanegroup.org/blog/court-finds-nyc-disabled-not-adequately-protected-after-sandy-disaster-planning-must-include-vulnerable-populations/#.VbKRC7NViko), and settlement have many jurisdictions scrambling to hire specialist in the field to address functional needs individuals and to interface with with 'grass roots' organizations.

Twenty-fives, what is your community gauge for whole community members?  With over 20,000 emergency managers certified by other associations, or certified by the State employed in the U.S. we can't wait another 25-years for full inclusion.

Sincerely,


Charles D. Sharp
CEO
Black Emergency Managers Association


july 24, 2015


Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This milestone law prohibits discrimination and mandates equal opportunity for people with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation and telecommunications and guarantees the civil rights of more than 56 million Americans.  
The ADA was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and has shaped opportunities for people with disabilities in providing equal access to education, employment and to programs and services, including transportation, communications access, public accommodations, and more. 
Integrating the needs of people with disabilities into disaster preparedness, response, and recovery planning is essential to proper emergency management.  Under the authority of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides equal access throughout its services, including:
·        508-compliant FEMA.gov, Ready.gov, and America’s PrepareAthon! websites;
·        Public materials in alternative formats for people who are blind or have low vision; and
·        Ensuring all video materials are captioned.
Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the ADA, FEMA and the Ad Council launched a new public service advertisement (PSA) to raise awareness about the importance of being prepared for emergencies. While the PSA targets all communities, We Prepare Every Day is the first in a series of videos that aim to deliver a strong preparedness message by showing people with disabilities taking charge to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies. The PSA provides equal access to all viewers and includes open captioning, a certified deaf interpreter, and audio description for viewers who are blind or have low vision

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