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Serving Region 9 - Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada & the Pacific Basin

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Study Examines Disaster Planning of Local Offices of Emergency Management with Respect to People with Disabilities

"Are local offices of emergency management prepared for people with disabilities? Results from the FEMA Region 9 Survey" is a cross-sectional study of local Offices of Emergency Management (OEM) from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 9. 

The study's main outcome was the adoption of emergency management recommendations by the U.S. Department of Justice and FEMA in applying Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It found that OEM implementation of ADA requirements was not optimal. Areas needing improvement included availability of detailed operating procedures for people with disabilities; training of staff to make sure they are knowledgeable on the ADA requirements for inclusivity; accessible communication strategies, including emergency notifications; availability of sign language interpreters and access to personal assistants at shelters; engagement of the disability community from plan development to community drills; and having qualified staff and other resources necessary to meet the OEM's responsibilities in providing equal access to people with disabilities.