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Emergency Preparedness: Addressing the Needs of Persons with Disabilities

Markenson, David; Fuller, Elizabeth J.; Redlener, Irwin E.

In July 2004, President Bush signed an Executive Order explicitly stating the policy of the United States in the area of emergency preparedness for people with disabilities. The Executive Order built on The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990 “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities” (42 U S .C. 12101[b][1]).

Although the ADA does not address emergency preparedness directly, Titles II and III have clauses that are relevant to emergency preparedness.
Title II: Provides that no qualified individual with a disability shall be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, program s or activities of a public entity. Title III: No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of a disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities or accommodations of any place of public accommodation. “Public entity” is defined as state and local governments and certain transportation authorities. Thus, emergency services operated by a state or local government cannot discriminate against people with disabilities. Public accommodations are listed in the statute and include hotels, auditoriums, parks, professional offices of health care providers and gymnasiums (CRS, Report for Congress, “The Americans with Disabilities Act and Emergency Preparedness and Response” September 13, 2005). These structures could feasibly be utilized in times of natural or man made disasters.

“Public entity” is defined as state and local governments and certain transportation authorities. Thus, emergency services operated by a state or local government cannot discriminate against people with disabilities. Public accommodations are listed in the statute and include hotels, auditoriums, parks, professional offices of health care providers and gymnasiums (CRS, Report for Congress, “The Americans with Disabilities Act and Emergency Preparedness and Response” September 13, 2005). These structures could feasibly be utilized in times of natural or manmade disasters.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
National Center for Disaster Preparedness
Publisher
National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Published Here
January 4, 2013
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