Louisiana Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Planning Project
Louisiana is no stranger to disasters and emergencies such as hurricanes. In 2020, Louisiana was hit with five names storms during the dangerous global COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals with disabilities were hit particularly hard as normal accessible shelters were not opened due to the Coronavirus. Americans are recognizing the need to prepare for emergencies but according to the American Red Cross, only 42 percent of families describe themselves as prepared for an emergency. The Americans with Disabilities Act “protects the right of people with disabilities to have equal access to the basic institutions of state and local government.
This means that individuals with disabilities must be accommodated in any state or local shelters and shelters must be accessible to people with disabilities. Emergency management teams, shelters, and individuals with disabilities need to work together to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are met when a disaster occurs. There is not a “one size fits all” solution to accessibility. Often, individuals with disabilities are unaware of what is available to them in an emergency situation and are often not participating in the planning process and therefore do not know what their role or responsibility is in during an emergency.
The Arc of Louisiana participates with a coalition of disability advocates and state departments called The Louisiana Emergency Management Disability and Aging Coalition (EMDAC). This coalition mission is to advocate for and support emergency management efforts that serve all people in Louisiana, particularly people with disabilities and those who are aging and to help coordinate services and support for people with disabilities who are impacted by a Louisiana disasters and emergencies.
Louisiana Guide to Supports & Services for Individuals with Disabilities, Elders and Their Families Affected by Disasters
For more information contact The Arc of Louisiana at 225-383-1033