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Let’s Make A Plan! Training Manual

Nancy Svirida, Disability Law Center, May 2007

shower chairs; grab bars near toilets, showers and tubs; and other accessibility features.7  

There are many ideas and initiatives right now trying to address the problems highlighted by Hurricane Katrina.  For example, in the January 2007 Final Report of Assessing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Persons with Disabilities,8 one of the final recommendations was for staff and consumers of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) systematic training and education that will result in increased numbers of people with disabilities who have developed personal disaster plans, specifically with a “train-the-trainer” approach.  This research represents the most in-depth effort to understand how persons with disabilities prepared for, reacted to, and recovered from the devastating impact of the hurricane and their relationship with CILs.

5. Massachusetts Updates

In February 2007, there was a Statewide Emergency Preparedness Summit.  Approximately 125 people attended.  The purpose of the Summit was to reach out to diverse stakeholder groups (including disability networks) to discuss ways to strengthen our emergency planning efforts.  The first half of the day included opening remarks from the Office of Disabilities and Community Services, Elder Affairs, Massachusetts Office on Disability, Department of Public Health, and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and personal experiences provided by individuals with disabilities.  During the second part of the day, meeting participants divided into five workgroups focusing on personal preparedness, communication, registries, shelters, and evacuation.

The workgroups discussed existing barriers within these five topic areas and began to brainstorm solutions. The work of these workgroups will be ongoing over the next few months. The result will be a list of recommendations for Governor Patrick and our state policy partners on ways to strengthen emergency planning efforts to be more inclusive of individuals with diverse needs. Each workgroup is co-chaired by a person with a disability. The progress of the five workgroups is being coordinated through a Steering Group representative of the workgroup chairs.

7 http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/specialplans.shtm#1

8 Funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

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