WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today Craig Fugate, the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), issued the following statement in honor of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"The Americans with Disabilities Act was a critical milestone in our nation's civil rights history. Twenty years later, the law's impact can be seen everywhere, from our schools to our hospitals to our businesses. It has opened doors for millions of Americans.
"Today as we honor that progress it's important to remember that we also have a lot of work left to do, especially when it comes to disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
"That's why when I became the head of FEMA, I challenged our team to not just plan for some of the community - but every member of the community. During my first year at the agency, we have already taken several key steps to transform how we think about and prepare for including people with disabilities in all of our disaster planning. We have established the first-ever office responsible for ensuring that our entire agency plans for people with disabilities as part of the entire community. And we are working closely with disability advocates and our state and local partners to improve how we all communicate with, transport, and house people with disabilities during an emergency.
"This is just the beginning of an effort that will take time, commitment and a lot of hard work. But our measure of success should be no different than it is for the rest of the community. Every person deserves access to the same protections and services when a hurricane, earthquake or other disaster strikes. As this anniversary reminds us, it's not only the law - it's the right thing to do."
To watch a video of Administrator Fugate discussing the importance of the 20th anniversary of the ADA, click here.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.