Capitol Correspondence - 02.25.19

Can Your State Handle Emergencies? Report Compares States, Flags Need For Greater Clarity for People with Disabilities

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ANCOR is sharing this report by Trust for America’s Health because the increasing frequency of natural disasters means people with disabilities and the providers have to be aware of the strengths and shortfalls of their state’s emergency preparedness. This will help ensure that the disability community is not left behind in critical periods. The report, titled Ready or Not: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism, does a state by state comparison of emergency preparedness and flags areas where progress has been made… as well as where progress is still needed. While the report is not focused on disability issues, it does make the following call for greater coordination of federal and state services on page 29, which mentions people with disabilities:

HHS, the CDC, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), and FEMA should clarify roles and address gaps within the government’s Emergency Support Functions. Disaster survivors, especially those with disabilities or in need of ongoing care, can fall through the cracks between federal agencies’ response functions. FEMA’s after-action report for the 2017 hurricanes called for cross-sector Emergency Support Functions to integrate FEMA capabilities with the public, the private sector, and volunteer actions to ensure the right capability reaches the survivor at the right time. The ASPR and the CDC should coordinate and align their preparedness and response activities, including private-sector and volunteer-organization engagement, taking care to maintain systems and policies that are working well, to avoid duplicative efforts, and to keep experts connected to key functions.”

ANCOR members interested in I/DD-specific disaster relief resources can find references on our Disaster Relief Efforts Page.