Six Compelling Reasons to Include People with Disabilities at the Emergency Planning Table

Sep 28, 2017 | Alyson Jordan

Emergency preparedness is an essential part of public health. In a disaster, emergency preparedness becomes emergency response – evacuating individuals from flooded areas, distributing food and water to towns wrecked by a tornado, controlling the spread of a disease, or decontaminating areas after an attack. Effective emergency response is impossible without good planning that takes place long before the disaster; it often begins at a conference room table surrounded by state and local public health workers, emergency responders, preparedness experts, epidemiologists, and law enforcement–each role brings something different to the discussion. Unfortunately, one significant population is often unrepresented at the table – individuals with disabilities. So, why should individuals with disabilities be included in the emergency planning process? Here are six compelling reasons for adopting inclusive emergency preparedness strategies at the national, state, and local level:

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