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Author: Marcie Roth
Editor's note: This post originally appeared on the Ticket to Work blog, hosted by the Social Security Administration.The importance of preparing ourselves for disasters is universal. Emergencies can happen anywhere - at home or at work - and everyone must take action to prepare for emergencies in case something unexpected happens.However, the truth is there's no one-size-fits-all solution to being prepared. In fact, as Director of the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), I'm often asked to talk about preparedness...
Posted On: April 29, 2015
Author: Marcie Roth
Even before Tropical Storm Isaac hit the Gulf coast, FEMA disability integration specialists from across the nation were preparing to travel to the areas that would be hardest hit. There, they would join other FEMA personnel and countless others from voluntary and community organizations, local, state, federal and tribal government, and the private sector who would answer the call to help the survivors of Isaac’s lingering and widespread deluge of rain and wind.Right now, FEMA has seven Disability Integration Advisors serving in Louisiana and Mississippi. Their expertise is guiding the...
Posted On: September 7, 2012
Author: Marcie Roth
Today is truly a reason to celebrate because it marks the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Twenty two years ago, we reached a turning point in our nation’s history when the civil rights of millions of Americans with disabilities were recognized and protected by law. Today, more than 56 million Americans benefit from this law.Here at FEMA, we are committed to honoring and upholding the ADA. We are uncompromising in our dedication for the right to equal access before, during and after an emergency. Equal access gives everyone an opportunity to...
Posted On: July 26, 2012
Author: Marcie Roth
People often ask me why FEMA no longer calls people with disabilities and other people with access and functional needs “vulnerable” or “special needs”?The answer is straightforward: it’s the people who fail to prepare who are the ones who are most vulnerable in disasters. When people with disabilities have a plan for disasters and are prepared, they are in a much better position to ensure that they have the best possible outcomes during and after a disaster such as a hurricane. With approximately 50% of the population having access and functional needs, those needs are not special, they are...
Posted On: June 8, 2012
Author: Marcie Roth
Disasters can strike anywhere, anytime and can impact anyone, so Wireless Emergency Communications project at Georgia Institute of Technology, to discuss the next Think Tank topic. Serino reminded participants that “FEMA needs to use the best technology available to communicate with disaster survivors and those with disabilities and access and functional needs.”He also noted that the Emergency Alert System test held in November of 2011 revealed several areas of improvement necessary for modernizing our national alerting systems, including problems with speed of the content and message...
Posted On: March 29, 2012
Author: Marcie Roth
I’ve blogged before about the strides the emergency management team is taking to include every member of the community in their plans before a disaster strikes. And I’ve even talked about the steps FEMA took before, during and after Hurricane Irene to meet the needs of the whole community.This past week, FEMA hosted leaders from emergency management, the disability community, voluntary and faith-based organizations, and the private sector at our “Getting Real Conference” to continue building on that positive momentum, sharing best practices and mapping out a way forward towards disability...
Posted On: September 19, 2011
Author: Marcie Roth
Here at FEMA we emphasize the importance of including the whole community in disaster planning, response and recovery. This goes beyond engaging our counterparts at the federal, state, local and tribal levels – it also means including those groups who have traditionally been overlooked or labeled as “too difficult” to include in our emergency plans.As Administrator Fugate says, emergency managers need to plan for the real, diverse makeup of our communities - and not just the easy scenarios. Here are a few highlights of our efforts to meet the needs of the whole community related to Hurricane...
Posted On: September 2, 2011
Author: Marcie Roth
Today's earthquake and the resulting tsunami are another reminder of the need to plan for the entire community and not just plan for the easy scenarios following a disaster, as Administrator Fugate often says. Along with the National Disability Rights Network and other leaders and advocates from across the disability community, we signed a memorandum of agreement today at the White House.  This agreement solidifies a partnership in working together to make sure we are planning for and meeting the needs of people with disabilities before, during, and after disasters strike.Here's an...
Posted On: March 11, 2011