Describe Your Solution:
The need to provide an environment in which the disability community can bring its perspective to emergency managers, disaster planners, and first responders is our primary focus, and one which we've begun to address through our Getting It Right conference program. Our first 3-day conference, held in Atlanta in June of 2013, was met with overwhelming support and expanded interest, with requests for more regionalized events. In response to those requests, a one-day workshop was held in Charleston, South Carolina on January 30, 2014, followed by a 2-day conference in Weehawken, New Jersey. Both were equally successful, and brought additional interest from emergency managers in other regions of the country. Through these Getting It Right conferences and workshops, dialogues are begun, problems are identified, awareness is increased, and a path is opened to finding workable, easily-implemented solutions, particularly in the areas of accessible transportation and shelter. Attendees are provided with collateral materials, post-conference, including training aids based on exercises and group discussions in which they participated.
An unanticipated, but hugely significant result of our Getting It Right conferences has been the heightened awareness in the disability community of the need to take full responsibility for our own disaster preparedness, in the form of making and maintaining a detailed, personal disaster plan. We believe that as we continue bringing disaster planners and responders together with the disability community, transportation and shelter services will be improved to eventually fully accommodate people with disabilities. Most importantly, lives will be saved.
Our next conference is scheduled for February 24-25, 2015, in Newport News, VA, and plans are underway for a Gulf Coast-focused conference in Biloxi, Mississippi, in late summer 2015, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the ADA. In bringing together the disability community with representatives of regional OEMs, we expect to launch a dynamic and informative dialogue that will address areas of service which can still be improved upon, and as before, seek creative, but simple, easily-effected solutions.