Organizations And Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities Part III: Resources — Plus Web Exclusive, Resources and Links

Over the past two months, we have looked at the reasons for, and tips toward, emergency preparedness planning targeting individuals […]

Over the past two months, we have looked at the reasons for, and tips toward, emergency preparedness planning targeting individuals with disabilities. Notably, the President issued an Executive Order on July 22nd instructing Federal agencies to examine this topic. This month we will briefly outline a few key resources, which may help you develop, evaluate, and implement your plan. At this time, we have received and will pass along important information regarding local experiences, guidebooks, sample plans, equipment, and supplies. In the future, if you happen upon any consultants and /or trainers, please feel free to contact us.

However, before we discuss resources, I would like to thank the generous contribution and support of the staff at the Hennepin County Government Center as well as 3M. I would specifically like to thank Ms. Roberta Haight, the Administrative Security Manager for Hennepin County Property Services; Mr. James Ramnaraine, the ADA Coordinator for Hennepin County Human Resources (612-348-7741); Mr. Ed Nelson, the Chair for the 3M Disability Advisory Committee (651-731-4040); and Mr. Steve Roberts, Manager of the Research and Development Division of 3M’s Emergency Health Services (651-733-2980). They have provided invaluable input and feedback regarding their emergency planning experiences. If you have any specific questions regarding their experiences, please feel free to contact them.

Despite my inability to include some of their feedback in last month’s article, I would like to briefly mention it here. Many of the points revealed had already been included in our previous articles. But, I found the tip of “networking, networking, networking” popping up several times. For example, many cited the tremendous value received from creating resource and planning networks consisting of people with disabilities, co-workers/neighbors, supervisors/managers, executive management, as well as external peers, interested parties, and professional organizations (e.g., general disability-related organizations, building/facilities managers, building/facilities engineers, human resource professionals, occupational health/workplace safety specialists, emergency response/public safety personnel, disaster relief organizations, and so on). Another challenge cited was identifying individuals who may need assistance. Both organizations seemed to notify everyone that assistance was available, then requested “self-disclosure” from individuals desiring that assistance.

Now onto discussing resources. We have prepared a special “web exclusive” for this topic on the Access Press website [www.testing.accesspress.org]. This “web exclusive” will contain links to detailed resources; whereas, our print version will identify contact information for several general resources. Those resources are as follows:

Ready.gov and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security 800-BE-READY

United States Fire Administration(301) 447-1000

United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy

Voice: (202) 693-7880

TTY: (202) 693-7881

Some local chapters of The American National Red Cross [(202) 303-4498], such as the one located in Minneapolis, offer emergency preparation training specifically for individuals with disabilities. Please call the Red Cross to locate the chapter nearest you. In Minneapolis, contact Mr. Bill Nolan at 612-252-1026. The St. Paul chapter may be offering training in the near future. To find out more, contact Ms. Gretchen Ambrosier, the St. Paul Area Community Outreach Coordinator, at 651-291-4669.

Information regarding workplace planning and adaptive equipment for use by individuals with disabilities during an emergency, contact the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) 800-526-7234 (V/TTY) http://janweb.icdi.wvu.edu.

Information regarding requirements for evacuation routes, alarms, elevators, and areas of rescue assistance is available from The Access Board [Voice (800) 872-2253 / TTY (800) 993-2822].

As always, if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me via telephone (952) 401-9808 or e-mail lhegland@mn.rr.com.

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