Capitol Correspondence - 09.24.18

HHS Civil Rights Office Issues Guidance on Equal Access to Emergency Services During Hurricane Florence

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The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) shared guidance on addressing the needs of at-risk populations during Hurricane Florence. See below for key points. ANCOR has compiled additional resources on our Disaster Relief Page. If you come across more resources you believe should be featured on that page, please send them to [email protected].

“[Emergency] responders and officials should consider adopting, as circumstances and resources allow, the following practices to help make sure all segments of the community are served:

  • Employing qualified interpreter services to assist individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing during evacuation, response, and recovery activities;
  • Making emergency messaging available in languages prevalent in the affected area(s) and in multiple formats, such as audio, large print, and captioning and ensuring that websites providing disaster-related information are accessible;
  • Making use of multiple outlets and resources for messaging to reach individuals with disabilities, individuals with limited English proficiency, and members of diverse faith communities;
  • Considering the needs of individuals with mobility impairments and individuals with assistive devices or durable medical equipment in providing transportation for evacuation;
  • Identifying and publicizing accessible sheltering facilities that include accessible features, such as bathing, toileting, eating facilities, and bedding;
  • Avoiding separating people from their sources of support, such as service animals, durable medical equipment, caregivers, medication, and supplies; and
  • Stocking shelters with items that will help people to maintain independence, such as hearing aid batteries, canes, and walkers.”