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FEMA Supports the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 24, 2015
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Office of Disability Integration and Coordination

July 26 is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the mandates of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and following the disability mantra “nothing about us, without us,” FEMA joins a renewed effort across the country to plan for emergencies and disasters with people who have disabilities and others with access and functional needs rather than planning for them. Under the authority of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, FEMA provides equal access throughout its services, including the following:

  • 508-compliant, and Americas PrepareAthon! websites
  • Public materials in alternative formats for people who are blind or have low vision
  • Ensuring all video materials are captioned
  • Providing physical access, program access and effective communication access throughout Disaster Recovery Centers and then offering accommodations for people with disabilities throughout their disaster recovery.

FEMAs Disability Integration Advisor (DIA) Cadre has deployed its 70 specialists and interpreters to more than 125 disasters throughout the nation since 2011. DIAs provide guidance and advice throughout disaster response and recovery. Twenty five of the advisors are qualified sign language interpreters, including five certified deaf interpreters.

At FEMA, there is a responsibility to plan for the entire community – including children, older adults and people with or without disabilities with access and functional needs. As a nation, we must include the whole community in our preparedness, exercises, and training so we understand how best to address everyones needs in a disaster. We join the White House, the federal family and communities across the country in a national celebration of 25 years of disability rights currently underway. More information can be found at

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