INFORMATION PROVIDED BY PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER KEVIN SUR, STATE OF ILLINOIS
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (July 26, 2022) – July 26 marks the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act in 1990 and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging all local public safety and emergency management agencies to reaffirm plans to support the independent rights of individuals with disabilities.
“All emergency and disaster preparation plans must include provisions for people with disabilities in accordance with new state legislation passed last year, and we want Illinois to be one of the most proactive states in accessibility,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “This includes sharing plans on disaster response, evacuation planning, open captioning, and sign language to warn of severe weather.”
To enhance statewide effort, IEMA’s Access and Functional Needs Advisory Committee researches and provides recommendations on integrating access and functional needs into state and local emergency plans.
Tips for inclusion:
- Work with people with disabilities when updating any emergency management plans, programs, policies, and procedures
- Provide information in multiple formats including large print, braille, and audio
- Improve transportation needs for people with wheelchairs, medical needs, and service animals
- Share training to address emergency staffing, equipment, medical supplies, food and beverages, family/assistant reunification
- Ensure shelters have low-stimulation aka “stress-relief” zones
The advisory committee is composed of representatives from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Department of Human Services, Department on Aging, Department of Public Health, local emergency agencies, first responders respective, and nine members from the community of persons with a disability who represent persons with different types of disabilities, including individuals with mobility and physical disabilities, hearing and visual disabilities, deafness/hard of hearing, blindness or who have low vision, mental health disabilities, and intellectual or developmental disabilities. More information about the IEMA Access and Functional Needs Advisory Committee can be found here: Access and Functional Needs Advisory Committee – Preparedness (illinois.gov)
More information on preparing to assist people with disabilities in an emergency can be found at the U.S. Department of Justice Information webpage on Technical Assistance on the ADA.