From Transition Letter Attachment Sent by AAPD and a Coalition of Consumer Controlled Organizations (12/22/08):
Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery Needs
· Up to 1/3 of individuals affected by emergencies or disasters, have functional needs related to disability and/or chronic conditions that affect their safety, health and independence.
· Policies, practices and programs of local, state and federal agencies charged with emergency management fail to adequately address the needs of individuals with disabilities.
· During emergencies and disasters, human and civil rights violations are rampant, despite simple and readily achievable solutions to protect lives and maximize limited resources.
· Agencies charged with emergency management often underutilize experts in emergency management needs of people with disabilities, and often exclude them from planning and response at all levels.
· The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) fails to adequately address proper disaster management needs and results in misuse of limited resources.
· Studies show every dollar spent in preparedness saves nine dollars in response and recovery for the general population and significantly more for preparedness needs of individuals with disabilities.
Long Term Goals:
· Establish a mandate for the interagency coordinating council to incorporate expertise available outside the federal government into its decision.
· Appoint a coordinator with expertise in the needs of people with disabilities to all federal agencies with specific emergency preparedness responsibilities, and the authority and resources to act on them.
· Provide adequate resources and authority to FEMA, the National Council on Disability, the HHS Office on Disability, and the Domestic Policy Council to design, implement, and coordinate policy and practice initiatives across agencies to improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
· Mandate that emergency management agencies at every level engage disability community experts to help address the needs of people with disabilities before, during and after disasters.
Short Term Goals:
· Ensure the National Security review team assesses FEMA’s progress in fulfilling the directives in the 2006 Stafford Act amendment as outlined by the ten statutory charges for the Disability Coordinator.
· Establish an Office on Disability in FEMA with adequate authority and resources for the Disability Coordinator to fulfill the expectations of this position.
· Include expertise in emergency preparedness, response and recovery of people with disabilities on the Domestic Policy Council team and all other areas throughout the administration charged with emergency preparedness.
· Change the composition and authority of the Interagency Coordinating Council formed under Executive Order 13347 to include private sector experts at the table.
· Ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to necessary services and supports to maintain health and independence during, and after emergencies, disasters, and/or crises.