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Easy Access to Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Monday, August 6th, 2012

According to Disability.Gov, more than 54 million people in the United States live with a disability of some kind, whether sensory, physical, intellectual, developmental, emotional or mental. Passed just 22 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is landmark legislation for our country because it advanced the civil rights of people who have disabilities. In short, the ADA guarantees equal access for all. But the ADA was just the first of many laws written to benefit persons with disabilities—the Assistive Technology Act, Fair Housing Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA.)

One valuable Ready.Gov’s online resource for this group of individuals is a customized portion of the Be Ready Campaign, created specifically for people who have disabilities (and their friends and family). Still following the basic program guidelines to be informed, make a plan and build a kit, the Emergency Preparedness Plan for people with disabilities is unique in that it takes into account the unique challenges which face disabled people deal with when it comes to preparing and responding to natural and manmade disasters.

Although specific steps will vary depending on each individual’s specific disability, these are some of the highlights of the Be Ready Campaign for Americans with Disabilities:

  1. Be Informed. Your ability to recover from an emergency tomorrow may depend on the planning and preparation you do today. Whether or not you have a disability, you need to be aware of the emergencies which would likely affect your region. To find out, go to Ready.gov/be-informed. Please note that you may need to adapt the information you find to your personal circumstances.
  2. Make a Communications Plan. A disaster can interfere with your ability to communicate with family, friends or those you work with. For this reason, it’s imperative you create a plan for staying in touch with your support network. This can be particularly difficult to do if your disability involves speaking, mobility or hearing. Nevertheless, it is just as important (maybe even more so) for you to plan to communicate with your friends and family in a disaster regardless of the specific challenges you face.
  3. Get Involved. As a person who faces particular challenges with regard to preparing for and responding to emergencies, you undoubtedly have worthwhile information to share with emergency planners. So, if at all possible, help your community by contributing to community and neighborhood emergency preparedness activities. Your insight could help assist people with disabilities with access and functional requirements whose needs could otherwise be forgotten. People who have disabilities often have first-hand experience adapting and problem solving. And these are useful skills in emergencies.

The Allied Universal Training System is committed to including resources for Americans with Disabilities in our materials, as well…even going so far as to provide easy access to a screen inside the training system which enables subscribers to register their special assistance status. This information is critical because, as soon as first responders are notified about emergency situations, while they are still en route, they understand special steps which might be necessary to rescue and assist disabled personnel well before they arrive on scene. Since every second is crucial in virtually any disaster, the notification system is extremely helpful and can even save lives. Allied Universal special assistance registration is confidential.

The Disability.Gov website is a valuable resource because it provides free comprehensive information about disability programs and services available nationwide including material about protecting your civil rights. If you are among the Americans who live with a disability of any kind, you can check out the site to learn about your rights relative to employment, discrimination, filing complaints and ADA and related legislation enforcement. What’s more, you can find out how to apply for benefits, obtain health care, find a job and pay for housing.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 3.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system.

Emergency Family Plan

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
Will you and your family be ready if disaster strikes?

Will you and your family be ready if disaster strikes?

Planning for an emergency is a project for the entire family. Get your children involved in preparedness to help them understand how important it is to be prepared and encourage them to remain calm under duress. Emergencies could, potentially, happen when you are away and the kids are home. So be sure the babysitter knows the emergency plans, as well.

Earthquakes. Floods. Fire. If one of these strikes, will your family be prepared?

The first step is to identify and focus on the types of events that might occur. Fire happens no matter where you live. Earthquakes are more regional, but remember; some places you wouldn’t think about have had earthquakes. Floods are more common in some areas than others. So, if your home is located in a floodplain, be sure you establish emergency plans to share with your relatives and neighbors.

So how exactly can you get your kids involved?

  • Do a home hazard scavenger hunt to identify dangerous objects. Check every chest of drawers and other large furniture to make sure everything is well-secured to a wall. What about paintings and other loose items? Imagine an earthquake. What could, potentially happen to your possessions?
  • Make an emergency kit! FEMA has a great online matching game that allows children to visualize the key components of an emergency kit. Don’t forget the flashlights and canned goods!
  • After you have squared away your kit, it is time to make a plan! Again, we recommend that you get your children involved. The plan should be written out. But you can also include some simple graphic designs, clip art or photos into the plan to make it easy for younger kids to understand. Here are some key points to cover.
  • Identifying information about each family member
  • Phone contact information. Provide multiple numbers including the addresses of relatives who live far away in case the emergency has knocked out local communications. Put copies of photos in the plan so they can be easily distributed if someone is missing.
  • Make sure everyone understands escape routes from the home and the group meeting area.
  • Large families can enlist older kids as “watchers” over the younger ones
  • Ready.gov has a good emergency plan template

After a disaster, you will need to make sure all of your family members are accounted for and healthy. Then, it’s time to contact agencies such as your local Red Cross and to keep watch on alerts from FEMA.

With proper planning, you can help ensure your family’s safety in case of real emergency. Involvement of all family members is crucial. So Allied Universal, Inc. recommends that you make your plan today. BE SAFE.