WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate today addressed the National Summit on Disability Policy 2010. Fugate talked about the progress the emergency management community has made to integrate the needs of people with disabilities into all planning for disaster preparedness, response and recovery, and about FEMA's work to coordinate with state and local officials to ensure inclusiveness at all levels of emergency management. Fugate was joined by Marcie Roth, Director of FEMA's Office of Disability Integration and Coordination.
"The Americans with Disabilities Act was a critical milestone in our civil rights history, but we still have a lot of work to do to live up to the law's promise of equal opportunities for all Americans," said Administrator Fugate. "At FEMA, we're working to transform the way emergency managers at all levels - federal, state and local - plan for disasters to include all members of the community. If we continue to only plan for the easy part of the community, we will never be truly resilient as a nation."
FEMA works regularly with state and local officials and is taking a number of initiatives to ensure people with disabilities are integrated into all levels of disaster planning. Under Administrator Fugate's leadership, FEMA established the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination, headed by Roth, the agency's first-ever office designed to integrate people with disabilities into all aspects of preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. FEMA is also in the process of placing Disability Coordinators in each of the agency's ten regions and continues to do regular outreach to stakeholders in state and local government, the private sector, and the non-profit and faith communities.
To watch a video of Administrator Fugate discussing the importance of the 20th anniversary of the ADA, click here.
To read an op-ed by Administrator Fugate posted on CNN.com yesterday marking the anniversary and discussing the importance of including people with disabilities in all levels of emergency management, click here.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990. The National Summit on Disability Policy marked the 20th anniversary of the signing, and brought more than 500 federal, community, and private sector disability experts together to confer and exchange ideas on significant themes for all people with disabilities.
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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.