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The Americans with Disabilities Act and Emergency Preparedness and Response

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Publication Date: September 2005

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS22254

Topic: Population and demographics (Disabled)

Abstract:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 9 12101 et seq., provides broad nondiscrimination protection for individuals with disabilities in employment, public services, and public accommodations and services operated by private entities. Although the ADA does not include provisions specifically discussing its application to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, its nondiscrimination provisions are applicable to emergency preparedness and responses to disasters. For example, this would mean that emergency planning should include individuals with disabilities and that emergency shelters should be accessible to individuals with disabilities. In order to further the goals of the ADA, President Bush issued an Executive Order on July 22, 2004 relating to emergency preparedness for individuals with disabilities and establishing the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities. The National Council on Disability has also recently issued recommendations on emergency preparation and disaster relief relating to individuals with disabilities. This CRS report will be updated as appropriate.