Impact Feature Issue on Disaster Preparedness and People with Disabilities

From the Editors

When disasters occur people with disabilities are often among those most in harm’s way. In many cases this is because the planning and processes in place to respond to disasters and emergencies haven’t made adequate provision for people with disabilities. In this Impact issue we seek to address that need for greater inclusion of people with disabilities in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts by providing strategies, stories, and resources that we hope will be of use to disability service providers, advocates, individuals with disabilities, families, and policymakers. Through personal stories, reflections on lessons learned from previous disasters, reviews of what works and doesn’t work in policies and procedures, and a variety of preparedness checklists we hope to give readers information they can use to evaluate and improve disaster preparedness where they live, work, and participate in their communities. Whether it’s doing personal emergency planning, organizing neighbors into a circle of support for one another in case of an emergency, ensuring that local and state disaster planning agencies include input from people with disabilities, or evaluating the disaster preparedness of the agency or organization in which we work, we can each take steps to make sure that when the next disaster or emergency occurs, no one is left behind.