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July 9, 2019Advocacy Matters

Advocacy Matters: Disaster Preparedness

Disability Matters Radio Show with Joyce Bender

July 9, 2019

#AdvocacyMatters Segment

Disaster Preparedness

Last week, President Trump signed Public Law 116-22, The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act.

The legislation reauthorizes programs related to security and emergency preparedness.  Title III of the law establishes a National Advisory Committee on Individuals with Disabilities and Disasters.  The new National Advisory Committee will be housed in Homeland Security and will evaluate and provide advice, consultation and input with respect to medical, public health, State emergency preparedness and response, and the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities.  The Advisory Committee ends it work on September 30, 2023 unless the Secretary of Homeland Security submits a recommendation to con Congress to extend its work.

The statute sets out membership requirements as follows:

  • Chair of the National Council on Disability
  • Administrator of FEMA,
  • Chair of the U.S. Access Board
  • Under Secretary of Health of the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Director of the National Institutes of Health
  • Commission of the Food and Drugs
  • Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Administrator of the Administration for Community Living
  • Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
  • At least 2 non-Federal health care professions with expertise in disability access during disasters
  • At least 2 representatives from State, local, Tribal, or territorial agencies with expertise in disaster planning for individuals with disabilities
  • At least 2 individuals with a disability with expertise in disaster planning.

One more item to mention.  As we move into the summer season, there is an 800 number to call to ask questions about disasters for persons with disabilities.  That number is 800-626-4959.  The number is sponsored by the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies.

Their number and website are included on our website at

We’ve also posted two recent reports on emergency preparedness and people with disabilities.

The first is a U.S. Government Accountability Office report issued in May 2019 titled, “Disaster Assistance: FEMA Action Needed to Better Support Individuals Who Are Older or Have Disabilities.”

The next report was issued by the National Council on Disabilities.  NCD also issued their report in May 2019.  The report is called, “Preserving Our Freedom: Ending Institutionalization of People with Disabilities During and After Disasters.

#AdvocacyMatters and it is important to have the toll-free 800# that is available 24 hours, 7 days a week if disaster strikes.