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Cheers to 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act!

july 24, 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This milestone law prohibits discrimination and mandates equal opportunity for people with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation and telecommunications and guarantees the civil rights of more than 56 million Americans.  

The ADA was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and has shaped opportunities for people with disabilities in providing equal access to education, employment and to programs and services, including transportation, communications access, public accommodations, and more. 

Integrating the needs of people with disabilities into disaster preparedness, response, and recovery planning is essential to proper emergency management.  Under the authority of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides equal access throughout its services, including:

  • 508-compliant FEMA.gov, Ready.gov, and Americas PrepareAthon! websites;
  • Public materials in alternative formats for people who are blind or have low vision; and
  • Ensuring all video materials are captioned.

Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the ADA, FEMA and the Ad Council launched a new public service advertisement (PSA) to raise awareness about the importance of being prepared for emergencies. While the PSA targets all communities, We Prepare Every Day is the first in a series of videos that aim to deliver a strong preparedness message by showing people with disabilities taking charge to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies. The PSA provides equal access to all viewers and includes open captioning, a certified deaf interpreter, and audio description for viewers who are blind or have low vision

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Who Turned Out the Lights?

Do you remember the biggest blackout in U.S. history? In 2003, a widespread power outage struck the Northeast leaving more than 50 million people without electricity. Power outages can happen anytime, so preparation is important. Since the length of an outage can vary from a few hours to several days, you should plan to get by without utilities for at least three days. 

In addition to having a family emergency communications plan and disaster supply kit, The Ready Campaign offers tips to prepare for a power outage:

  • Keep your car gas tank at least half full. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps;
  • Fill plastic containers with water and freeze them. These items will help food stay cold during the outage; and
  • Keep a set of house keys with you if you normally use your garage to enter your home in case the garage door does not work. 

Your response during the blackout can also impact your safety. Here are some tips to follow: 

  • Only use flashlights for lighting. Never use candles;
  • Do not run a generator inside your home or garage; and
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed so your food stays as fresh as possible.

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Know Your Alerts & Warnings

Receiving timely information about emergencies can make all the difference in knowing when to take action to protect yourself and your family.  Local police and fire departments, emergency managers, the National Weather Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration work together to make sure you can receive alerts and warnings quickly through several different technologies no matter where you are. 

If youve ever noticed a unique sound and vibration coming from your cell phone, you probably just received a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) - a nationwide emergency alert system notifying you of a pending emergency in your area. These messages provide information about extreme weather, local emergencies, AMBER Alerts, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.  

WEAs look like a text message and show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. If you receive a WEA, follow the directions advised by the message and seek additional information from local media or authorities. 

WEA messages can save lives! To learn more, checkout FEMAs WEA public service advertisement and the Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings guide from Americas PrepareAthon!

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Dates for Your Calendar!

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Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting citizencorps@fema.dhs.gov.


This email was sent to using GovDelivery, on behalf of FEMA · U.S. Department of Homeland Security · Washington, DC 20472 Powered by GovDelivery

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