Emergency evacuation decisions are tougher for people with disabilities because they need to be sure they are fleeing to shelters that they can get in and out of and use. In the wake of Hurricane Irene, there are allegations today that the City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) fell short on promises that people being ordered out of “Zone A” would be evacuated to “accessible shelters.”
The city of Los Angeles discriminates against disabled people because it lacks specific plans to meet their needs in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency, a federal court ruled Friday, the first such decision in the country.
In Columbus alone, over fifty thousand people are living with special needs. Many of them function in society under normal circumstances quite well — but tornadoes, house fires, and evacuations are not normal circumstances.
City officials reached a settlement this week with the Berkeley-based Disability Rights Advocates over a 2007 lawsuit that said the city was ill-prepared to help disabled people in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake or firestorm.
John R. Hudson, 62, a social worker who devoted his career to support and rehabilitation for the disabled after a diving accident left him a quadriplegic as a young adult, died of respiratory arrest Dec. 9 at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax County.