Saving Lives: Including People with Disabilities in Emergency Planning News Conference Transcript

Emergency Planning for People with Disabilities News Conference

National Press Club
Washington, D.C.

April 15, 2005

"THIS TEXT IS BEING PROVIDED IN A ROUGH DRAFT FORMAT. COMMUNICATION ACCESS REALTIME TRANSLATION (CART) IS PROVIDED IN ORDER TO FACILITATE COMMUNICATION ACCESSIBILITY AND MAY NOT BE A TOTALLY VERBATIM RECORD OF THE PROCEEDINGS."

>> YOUNG WOO KANG: GOOD MORNING, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN AND GUESTS AND PANELISTS.

THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US FOR TODAY.

I AM DR. YOUNG WOO KANG, A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY.

FIRST OF ALL, I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS MY THANKS TO THE PANELISTS AND I ALSO WOULD LIKE TO RECOGNIZE PAT POUND, A MEMBER OF NCD'S BOARD FOR HER LEADERSHIP IN HELPING TO ENSURE THIS REPORT TO BE RELEASED.

TODAY'S EVENT IS ONE THAT NCD IS VERY PROUD FOR SEVERAL REASONS: FIRST, IT HIGHLIGHTS NCD'S NEW REPORT TITLED "SAVING LIVES, INCLUDING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN EMERGENCY PLANNING."

SECOND, IT GIVES US A CHANCE TO WORK WITH KEY PERSONNEL FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND AN EXCELLENT GROUP OF PANELISTS TODAY TO SHARE THE INFORMATION WITH ALL OF YOU ABOUT AN ISSUE THAT'S VITAL TO THIS NATION'S WELL‑BEING.

AND IT PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY TO HIGHLIGHT THE POWERFUL PARTNERSHIP FROM THE NATIONAL TO THE COMMUNITY LEVEL.

TODAY'S AGENDA INCLUDE NUMBER ONE, A REPORT OVERVIEW FROM MARTIN GOULD WHO IS A SENIOR RESEARCH SPECIALIST OF NCD.

AND NUMBER TWO, PANEL PRESENTATIONS WHERE SEVERAL OF OUR PANELISTS WILL TELL DIRECTIONS TO NCD'S NEWS REPORT AND THEN DESCRIBE WHAT THEIR ORGANIZATIONS OR AGENCIES ARE DOING IN THE AREA OF HOMELAND SECURITY, EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RELIEF.

WE WILL HEAR FROM MR. DAN SUTHERLAND, DIRECTOR OF OFFICE FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES AND CIVIL RIGHTS, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY.

AND CHERYL HEPPNER, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA RESOURCE CENTER FOR DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING PERSONS.

AND ROBERT HYNES, CHAIR OF ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMISSION.

AND KATIE SAVAGE, SUCCESSFUL PLAINTIFF IN THE PRECEDENTED SETTING OF EMERGENCY EVACUATION CASE, KATIE SAVAGE VERSUS CITY PLACE MALL.

AND FOLLOWING THEIR REMARKS, WE WOULD LIKE TO ENTERTAIN ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.

AND TO HELP WITH YOUR QUESTIONS, WE WILL HAVE ONE OF OUR PANELISTS, HILARY STYRON, ACTING DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS INITIATIVE, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION ON DISABILITY.

OLLIE CANTOS, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.

AND CHERYL KING, DEPUTY CHIEF OF CIVIL RIGHTS OFFICE, CONSUMER AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS BUREAU, FCC, FEDERAL COMMUNICATION COMMISSION.

AND NUMBER THREE, FINALLY, TIME PERMITTING, I WILL OFFER SOME CLOSING REMARKS.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO MAY NOT KNOW US, THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY IS AN INDEPENDENT FEDERAL AGENCY MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS TO ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR 54 MILLION AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES AND THEIR FAMILIES.

IT IS COMPOSED OF 15 MEMBERS APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT AND CONFIRMED BY THE U.S. SENATE.

UNDER ITS CONGRESSIONAL MANDATES, NCD IS CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY TO GATHER INFORMATION UNDER DEVELOPMENT AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF FEDERAL LAWS, POLICIES, PROBLEMS AND INITIATIVES THAT AFFECT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

IN 2003, AS A RESULT OF THE ADMINISTRATION'S INITIATIVES IN HOMELAND SECURITY, NCD COMMITTED ITSELF TO EVALUATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S WORK IN THE AREA AS WELL AS IN THE AREAS OF EMERGENCY PREPARATION AND AS THEY RELATE TO AND AFFECT AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES.

AND NOW, I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE MARTIN GOULD, DR. MARTIN.

AND HE IS A SENIOR RESEARCH SPECIALIST FOR NCD.

HE WILL GIVE US AN OVERVIEW.

MARTIN?

>> MARTIN GOULD: THANK YOU, DR. KANG.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

AS DR. KANG SAID IN 2003, THE NATIONAL COUNCIL COMMITTED ITSELF TO EVALUATING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S DEVELOPING ROLE AND WORK IN THE AREAS OF HOMELAND SECURITY, EMERGENCY PREPARATION AND DISASTER RELIEF.

WE ALSO NOTED THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S DEVELOPING EFFORTS AS THEY RELATE TO AND AFFECT AMERICANS WITH KISS ABILITIES WOULD BUILT ‑‑ DISABILITIES WOULD BUILD ON ITS ONGOING EXPERIENCE AND PIVOTAL LAWS SUCH AS THE AMERICAN WITH DISABILITIES ACT, SECTION 504 AND 508 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT AND SECTION 55 OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT JUST TO NAME A FEW.

WE HAVE PREVIOUS REPORTS ON THESE LAWS.

THE MAN MAID HOMELAND SECURITY OF THIS EVENT OF SEPTEMBER 200 AS WELL AS THE RECENT BLACKOUTS IN THE NORTHWEST AND MIDWEST AND MORE RECENTLY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE DISASTER IN FLORIDA AND THE TSUNAMI EVENTS IN 204 UNDERSCORE THE NEED FOR THIS REPORT TODAY.

ALSO TO NOTE HOWEVER IN APRIL OF 2004, THE CALIFORNIA STATE INDEPENDENT LIVING CENTER DELIVERED A REPORT TO GOVERNOR ARNOLD SCHWARTZ NEIGHER DETAILING THE TREATMENT OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES DURING THE 2003 FIRE STORMS.

THAT REPORT INDICATED THAT MANY OF CALIFORNIANS, ALMOST 20% OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES WERE UNABLE TO EVACUATE THEMSELVES BECAUSE OF POOR NOTIFICATION METHODS.

IN MARCH 2005, NEWSPAPERS IN OUR REGIONS AND VIRGINIA AND MARYLAND REPORTED ON CONCERNS RAISED BY STUDENTS ABOUT PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEMS USE OF STRATEGIES TO EVACUATE OUR TO NOT EVACUATE STUDENTS DURING FIRE EMERGENCY SITUATIONS.

IN ADDITION, MARCH 2005 FIRE CHIEF ARTICLE DESCRIBES A SURVEY OF 30 CITIES AND COUNTIES WHERE NATURAL OR MAN MAID DISASTERS HAD OCCURRED BETWEEN 1999 AND 2004.

THE SURVEY REVEALED THAT EMERGENCY MANAGERS STILL DON'T HAVE A GOOD HANDLE ON WHERE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ARE, HOW DO THEY FIND WAY TO RESCUE THEM AND THEN HOW DO THEY ACCOMMODATE THEM WHEN THEY GET THOSE PEOPLE TO A PLACE OF SAFETY.

ALL TOO OFTEN IT SEEMS IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS A LEGITIMATE CONCERNS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE OVERLOOKED.

IN AREAS RANGING FROM THE ACCESSIBILITY TO EMERGENCY INFORMATION TO THE EVACUATION PLANS FOR HIGH‑RISE BUILDINGS, GREAT URGENCY SURROUNDS THE NEED FOR RESPONDING TO THESE PEOPLES' CONCERNS AND ALL PLANNING, PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE RECOVERY AND MITIGATION EFFORTS.

THE DECISIONS THE GOVERNMENT MAKES, THE PRIORITY, OF COURSE THE CIVIL RIGHTS AND THE METHODS IT ADOPTS TO ASSURE UNIFORMITY IN THE WAY AGENCIES ARE HANDLED WITH THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES ARE GOING TO BE ESTABLISHED IN THE EARLY DAYS OF AN EMERGENCY SITUATION AND IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO CHANGE IF NOT SET UP ON THE RIGHT COURSE OF THE OUTSET.

BY WAY OF THIS REPORT, WE OFFER ADVICE TO HELP THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND ITS MANY PARTNERS ESTABLISH POLICIES AND PRACTICES IN THIS AREA.

THE REPORT ALSO GIVES EXAMPLES OF COMMUNITY EFFORTS TO TAKE ACCOUNT OF THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AS WELL AS THE MANY POSITIVE EXAMPLES AND GOOD WORK THAT FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS HAVE UNDERTAKEN.

THE COUNCIL'S RESEARCH EXPAND THE PERIOD OF SEPTEMBER 2003 TO DECEMBER 2004.

AT THE END OF THE FOLLOWING THAT TIME PERIOD AS WE NOTED THERE'S BEEN MUCH WORK THAT KEY FEDERAL AGENCIES HAVE INTENDED TO ADDRESS.

SUCH AS CONSIDERING STRENGTHENING THE NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS SYSTEM, EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION FOR EXAMPLE OF THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM AND ALL HAZARD WARNING SYSTEM AND PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS IN GENERAL.

WE ALSO NOTE THESE ISSUES BRIEFLY IN SAVING LIVES.

THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY WILL ADDRESS THESE AREAS ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S CONTINUED PROGRESS IN MORE DETAIL IN FUTURE REPORTS.

SOME OF THE MAJOR FINDINGS FROM OUR REPORT TODAY ARE AS FOLLOWS: FIRST, PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES FREQUENTLY ENCOUNTER BARRIERS TO PHYSICAL PLAN, COMMUNICATION, AND PROGRAMS IN SHELTERS AND RECOVERY CENTERS AND IN OTHER FACILITIES OR DEVICES USED IN CONNECTION WITH DISASTER OPERATIONS SUCH AS FIRST‑AID STATIONS, MASS FEEDING AREAS, PORTABLE PAY PHONE STATIONS, PORTABLE TOILETS AND TEMPORARY HOUSING.

SECOND, MANY OF THESE BARRIERS UNFORTUNATELY ARE NOT NEW.

INFORMATION AND LESSONS LEARNED ARE NOT SHARED ACROSS AGENCY LINES AND THUS EXPERIENCE IS NOT ENLIGHTENING THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW PRACTICES.

MANY ACCESSIBILITY LESSONS LEARNED DURING PREVIOUS DISASTERS ARE NOT INCORPORATED INTO SUBSEQUENT PLANNING, PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY ACTIVITIES.

THIRD, PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ALL TOO OFTEN ARE LEFT OUT OF PREPAREDNESS AND PLANNING ACTIVITIES.

THOSE ACTIVITIES INCLUDE ANALYZING AND DOCUMENTING THE POSSIBILITY OF AN EMERGENCY OR DISASTER AND THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES OR IMPACTS ON LIFE AND/OR PROPERTY.

FOURTH, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE SYSTEMS ARE USUALLY DESIGNED FOR PEOPLE WITHOUT DISABILITIES FOR WHOM ESCAPE OR RESCUE INVOLVES WALKING, RUNNING, DRIVING, SEEING, HEARING AND QUICKLY RESPONDING TO INSTRUCTIONS AND EVACUATION ANNOUNCEMENTS.

FIFTH, ACCESS TO EMERGENCY PUBLIC WARNINGS AS WELL AS PREPAREDNESS AND MITIGATION INFORMATION AND MATERIALS DOES NOT ADEQUATELY INCLUDE PEOPLE WHO CANNOT DEPEND ON SIGHT AND HEARING TO RECEIVE THEIR INFORMATION.

FIFTH, THE STRENGTHS AND SKILLS OF COMMUNITY‑BASED ORGANIZATIONS SERVING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE NOT WELL INTEGRATED INTO THE EMERGENCY SERVICE PLANS AND STRATEGIES OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT.

EMERGENCY MANAGERS NEED TO STRENGTHEN THE RELATIONSHIPS WITH THESE ORGANIZATIONS BY RECRUITING, ENCOURAGING AND PROVIDING FUNDING AND INCENTIVES TO COMMUNITY‑BASED ORGANIZATIONS SO THAT THEY CAN PARTICIPATE AND ASSIST IN DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RELIEF.

FINALLY, THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY DOES NOT GET MANY FORMAL COMPLAINS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION RELATED TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

THIS FACT SEEMS TO BE IN DRAMATIC CONTRAST TO THE BARRIERS REPORTED BY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES THEMSELVES.

AS A RESULT OF OUR FINDINGS AND RESEARCH, WE OFFER SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RECOMMENDATIONS.

FIRST, FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SHOULD ESTABLISH A DISABILITY ACCESS ADVISORY GROUP IN ADDITION TO THE INTERAGENCY COORDINATING COUNCIL ON EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS MADE UP OF QUALIFIED PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND OTHERS WITH DISABILITY SPECIFIC DISASTER EXPERIENCE WHO MEET REGULARLY WITH SENIOR OFFICIALS TO DISCUSS ISSUES AND CHALLENGES.

SECOND, THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SHOULD INTEGRATE INFORMATION ON PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND TO GENERAL PREPAREDNESS MATERIALS.

IT ALSO SHOULD INFORM READERS AND INFORMATION USER ON HOW TO GET ACCESS TO MORE CUSTOMIZED MATERIAL.

THIRD, THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SHOULD REGULARLY ISSUE GUIDANCE FOR STATE AND LOCAL AND EMERGENCY PLANNING DEPARTMENTS TO REINFORCE THEIR LEGAL OBLIGATIONS TO COMPLY WITH THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT AND WITH SECTION 504 AND SECTION 508 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT.

AND PLANNING FOR AND OPERATING AND MANAGING PROGRAMS AND SERVICES SUCH AS CITIZEN CORPS, SHELTERS AND OTHER DISASTER SERVICES.

NEXT, AND WE WOULD LIKE TO NOTE, ON APRIL 7th, THE NATIONAL COUNCIL COMMENTED THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION FOR ITS RECENT ACTION IN LEVYING FINES AGAINST THREE CALIFORNIA TELEVISION STATIONS FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH SECTION 69 THE COMMISSIONERS RULES AND FOR FAILING TO PROVIDE TIMELY CAPTIONS, GRAPHICS OR DEMONSTRATIONS TO DEAF OR PARTIALLY DEAF VIEWERS.

NOTWITHSTANDING OUR APRIL 7th LETTER TO THE FCC, THE FCC SHOULD FIRST DEVELOP STRONG MECHANISMS TO ENSURE THAT VIDEO PROGRAMMING, DISTRIBUTORS, INCLUDING BROADCASTERS, CABLE OPERATORS AND SATELLITE TELEVISION SERVICES COMPLY WITH THEIR OBLIGATION TO MAKE EMERGENCY INFORMATION ACCESS ‑‑ EMERGENCY INFORMATION ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH HEARING DISABILITIES TO ACT IMMEDIATELY ON VIOLATIONS AND THREE, FOR FCC TO BE PROACTIVE ON SECTION 255, HEARING AID COMPATIBILITY.

OUR THIRD RECOMMENDATION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SHOULD DEVELOP AND OFFER TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND GUIDANCE MATERIALS FOR GRANTEES ABOUT THEIR ADA AND SECTION 504 LEGAL OBLIGATIONS AND STRATEGIES.

THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SHOULD CONDUCT PROACTIVE ACTIVITIES THAT ARE NOT COMPLIANT WITH SECTION 504 AND ADA.

FINALLY, THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND BOARD SHOULD DEVELOP SITUATIONS TO COMPREHENSIVELY COLLECT AND AGGREGATE AND SUMMARIZE THE INFORMATION ABOUT COMPLAINS AND COMPLIANCE REVIEWS OF OUTCOMES.

THIS INFORMATION SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC AND BE TRANSPARENT.

NCD BELIEVES THIS REPORT WILL CONTRIBUTE TO AMERICA'S COMMITMENT TO BUILDING A STRUCTURE AND INCORPORATES ACCESS TO EMERGENCY PROGRAMS AND STRUCTURES AND INCLUDE PHYSICAL ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

SAVING LIVES RECOMMENDATIONS URGES THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO INFLUENCE ITS STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PARTNERS AS WELL AS ITS COMMUNITY‑BASED PARTNERS TO ASSUME MAJOR ROLES IMPLEMENTING KEY RECOMMENDATIONS.

WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE VERY GOOD WORK THAT THE FEDERAL AGENCIES HAS UNDERTAKEN AND WE STAND READY IN OUR OWN RIGHT ASSISTING AND CONTINUING IN THIS WORK.

THANK YOU.

>> YOUNG WOO KANG: THANK YOU FOR YOUR OUTSTANDING PRESENTATIONS.

WE ARE VERY PROUD TO HAVE YOU, DR. GOULD, ON OUR NCD STAFF.

AND NEXT SPEAKER WILL BE MR. DANIEL SUTHERLAND.

HE IS THE DIRECTOR OF CIVIL LIBERTIES AND THE CIVIL RIGHT OFFICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.

I AM VERY PLEASED TO PRESENT MR. SUTHERLAND TO YOU.

>> DANIEL SUTHERLAND: THANK YOU.

WE WELCOME THIS REPORT BY NCD BECAUSE IT HIGHLIGHTS AN ISSUE THAT WE THINK IS VERY IMPORTANT AND THAT WE ARE WORKING VERY HARD ON.

WHEN I SAY "WE", I'M REFERRING NOT ONLY TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURE AND MY COLLEAGUES THERE, BUT TO MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES IN FEDERAL AGENCIES AROUND THE GOVERNMENT, MANY OF WHOM ARE EITHER HERE IN THE ROOM OR ON THE PANEL AND I WANT TO CONTINUE TO REFER TO THEM THROUGHOUT MY SHORT PRESENTATION.

PRESIDENT BUSH IN A NUMBER OF THESE FEDERAL AGENCIES HAVE RECOGNIZED THAT INTEGRATING THE SPECIAL NEEDS AND TALENTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS EFFORT MUST BE A NATIONAL PRIORITY.

WE MADE TREMENDOUS PROGRESS IN TRANSLATING THAT COMMITMENT INTO REALITY.

THERE IS OF COURSE A GREAT DEAL OF GROUND STILL TO COVER.

GIVEN THE NEW LEVELS OF COORDINATION ON THESE ISSUES AND THE COMMITMENT TO THESE ISSUES.

AND I THINK WE HAVE EVERY REASON TO BE VERY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SIGNIFICANT NEW DEVELOPMENTS THAT WE WILL SEE IN THESE AREAS OVER THE UP COMING MONTHS AND YEARS.

LET ME GIVE YOU A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND, IN JULY OF LAST YEAR, PRESIDENT BUSH SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER ON THIS ISSUE, THE NEED TO INTEGRATE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS EFFORT.

HE DID THAT TO MARK THE 14th ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT.

AS A RESULT OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER, IT IS NOW THE POLICY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO INTEGRATE THE NEEDS AND TALENTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN THIS ENTIRE EFFORT.

IN ADDITION TO CREATING A BROAD POLICY STATEMENT, THE PRESIDENT ALSO CREATED A MECHANISM TO MAKE IT REALITY, WHICH IS OFTEN THE PROBLEM.

WE HAVE POLICY STATEMENTS BUT WE DON'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT THEM.

AND IT'S CRITICAL ‑‑ WE ALL RECOGNIZE IT'S CRITICAL THAT WE SEEK TRUE POLICY AND SO THE PRESIDENT CREATED AN INTERCOORDINATING COUNCIL AND HE INSTRUCTED ALL OF US WHO ARE WORKING ON THESE ISSUES FROM DIFFERENT FEDERAL AGENCIES TO SIT TOGETHER AT A HIGH LEVEL AND MAKE SURE THERE'S PROGRESS ON THESE ISSUES.

THE PURPOSE OF THE COUNCIL IS REALLY THREE THINGS.

IT'S TO COORDINATE, COORDINATE IDENTIFYING STIMULATE.

COORDINATE THE ACTIVITY THAT IS ARE GOING ON AT A NUMBER OF PLACES AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, THE STATE LEVEL, THE LOCAL LEVEL AND TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS AND IN PRIVATE SETTINGS, PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS.

SO TO COORDINATE THE WORK THAT'S BEING DONE.

THE SECOND IS TO IDENTIFY, TO IDENTIFY GAPS IN THE CURRENT WORK THAT IS BEING DONE AS WE'RE WORKING TOGETHER AND WE'RE ABLE TO SEE THAT WE HAVE MISSED CERTAIN AREAS.

MORE WORK NEEDS TO BE DONE IN CERTAIN AREAS WHERE WE CAN HELP AND CERTAIN AREAS.

SO COORDINATE, IDENTIFY.

THE THIRD IS TO STIMULATE.

AND THE THIRD PURPOSE OF THE COUNCIL IS TO STIMULATE MORE WORK AND ATTENTION TO BE GIVEN TO THESE ISSUES.

WE HAVE MADE ‑‑ AS I SAID, THE PRESIDENT SIGNED THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER IN JULY.

AND SINCE THAT TIME, WE HAVE MADE INCREDIBLE AMOUNTS OF PROGRESS IN THIS AREA.

REALLY INCREDIBLE AMOUNTS OF PROGRESS THAT OUR TESTAMENT TO THE PRESIDENT'S LEADERSHIP, THE WHITE HOUSE PUSHING THE ISSUE AND THEN A LOT OF TALENTED PEOPLE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES JUMPING ON THE ISSUE AND DOING SOME GREAT WORK.

I ACTUALLY HAVE 14 BULLETS OF PROGRESS ‑‑ 15 BULLETS.

I JUST ADDED A 15th ONE WHILE MARTIN WAS TALKING AND I WILL SPARE YOU ALL 15 BULLETS OF PROGRESS.

BUT IT JUST IS AN INDICATION, I JUST WANTED TO SHARE THAT WITH YOU THAT IT'S AN INDICATION OF A LOT OF ACTIVITY THAT'S GOING ON AT MANY DIFFERENT LEVELS.

SO I'M JUST GOING TO HIT A COUPLE OF HIGH LIGHTS.

THE COUNCIL ITSELF HAS MET THREE TIMES FORMALLY WITH THE HEAD OF AGENCIES IN QUARTERLY MEETINGS.

WE HAVE MET THREE TIMES.

WE HAVE MANY, MANY TIMES IN WORKING GROUPS.

WE HAVE GUIDED INTO EIGHT DIFFERENT ‑‑ DIVIDED INTO EIGHT DIFFERENT SUBGROUPS.

FOR EXAMPLE, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS LEADING A WORK RELATED TO TRANSPORTATION ISSUES IN TIMES OF EMERGENCY AND A NUMBER OF FEDERAL AGENCIES HAVE JOINED THEM ON THAT.

THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS LEADING THE WORK IN EVACUATIONS IN THE WORKPLACE AND A NUMBER OF AGENCIES HAVE JOINED THEM IN THAT WORK.

THE FCC IS LEADING ON COMMUNICATION ISSUES.

HEALTH AND SOCIALS ARE LEADING IN TIMES OF EMERGENCY AND I CAN CONTINUE TO LIST THE OTHERS BUT IT JUST TELLS YOU THAT WE HAVE IDENTIFIED EIGHT STREAMS OF WORK THAT NEED TO BE DONE AND THERE ARE ACTIVE WORKS GOING ON IN EACH ONE OF THESE AREAS.

ONE OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS MADE IN THE NCD REPORT IS THAT WE CREATE AN ADVISORY GROUP AND WE THINK THAT'S CRITICALLY PORN THAT THOSE OF US IN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SITTING INSIDE THE BELTWAY CAN'T REALLY GET THIS JOB DONE AND WE MUST HAVE THE INPUT FROM THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WE NEED TO DO, GET THEIR GREAT IDEAS AND IMPLEMENT THEM INTO POLICY.

SO THE CITIZEN CORPS HAD ESTABLISHED A NATIONAL CITIZEN CORPS COUNCIL SUBCOMMITTEE ON EMERGENCY PREPARE PAIREDNESS AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

IT INCLUDE REPRESENTATIVES FROM A NUMBER OF NATIONAL CONSUMER ORGANIZATIONS AND IT HAS MET I BELIEVE THREE TIMES.

MAY BE TWO.

IT'S AT LEAST THREE TIMES THAT THEY HAVE MET.

SO ORGANIZATIONS IN THE LEADING ORGANIZATIONS IN THE DISABILITY CONSUMER MOVEMENT ARE GIVING US INFORMATION, ARE MEETING WITH THE COUNCIL AND FEEDING INFORMATION INTO US AND GIVES US THE MECHANISM TO GET THAT SORT OF INPUT.

A COUPLE OF OTHER HIGHLIGHTS ARE THAT THE LEADERS OF THIS METROPOLITAN AREA, THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA, MARYLAND AND THE MAJOR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SPONSORED A CONFERENCE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH OUR DEPARTMENT AND THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION ON DISABILITY IN SEPTEMBER TO DISCUSS A WIDE VARIETY OF ISSUES HERE.

WE HAD SECRETARY RIDGE, SECRETARY MINETA AND MIKE BROWN, WHO IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY ALL WERE KEYNOTE SPEAKERS AT THAT CONFERENCE.

JUST TO GIVE YOU A LEVEL OF INTEREST IN IT, 400 PEOPLE SIGNED UP FOR THE CONFERENCE AND 200 HAD TO BE TURNED AWAY FOR SPACE LIMITATIONS.

SOME OTHER DEMOGRAPHICS ABOUT THE AUDIENCE THAT I THOUGHT WAS INTERESTING, APPROXIMATELY HALF OF THE AUDIENCE CAME FROM THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY AND ABOUT HALF CAME FROM THE FIRST RESPONDER COMMUNITY.

SO THERE WAS THAT EXCELLENT MIX.

ABOUT HALF OF THE AUDIENCE CAME FROM PEOPLE WITHIN THIS METROPOLITAN AREA AND ABOUT HALF FROM PLACES AROUND THE COUNTRY AS WELL.

SO WE HAVE THAT INTERESTING MIX.

WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GIVE A NUMBER OF GRANTS TO TRY TO STIMULATE WORK MANY THIS AREA.

FOR EXAMPLE, IN ‑‑ JUST LAST AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, WE AWARDED A $1.4 MILLION AWARD TO CONSORTIUM ORGANIZATIONS THAT FOCUSED ON WORKING WITH THE DEAF COMMUNITY IN TERMS OF EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS.

THE CONSORTIUMS WAS LED BY TELECOMMUNICATIONS FOR THE DEAF.

CHERYL HEPPNER IS PART OF THAT CONSORTIUM.

TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS FOR THE DEAF IS ‑‑ WAS THE LEAD ORGANIZATION OF THAT CONSORTIUM.

BUT THEN THERE ARE WORKS GOING ON IN FOUR, FIVE DIFFERENT STATES AROUND THE COUNTRY IN TERMS OF PREPAREDNESS AND TRAINING IN THOSE AREAS.

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HAS DONE AN INCREDIBLE WORK HERE BOTH IN TERMS OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE, DOCUMENTS THAT THEY HAVE PUT OUT BUT ALSO IN TERMS OF SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS THAT THEY HAVE INITIATED WITH A NUMBER OF LARGE CITIES AND COUNTIES AROUND THE COUNTRY IN WHICH THEY HAVE MADE IT A REQUIREMENT UNDER TITLE 2 OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT THAT CITIES INCORPORATE THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AS THEY GO THROUGH THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS EFFORT.

MARTIN REFERRED TO SOME WORK AT THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS IS DOING AND HAS DONE.

THE NATIONAL DISABILITY AND RESEARCH HAS COMMITTED OVER A MILLION DOLLARS TOWARD RESEARCH IN THIS AREA.

THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR HELD ITS OWN CONFERENCE ON THE ISSUE OF EMERGENCY EVACUATIONS AND HAS PRODUCED A REPORT.

AND THEY ARE DISTRIBUTING A VERY VALUE REPORT THAT THEY ARE DISTRIBUTING AROUND THE COUNTRY.

JUST ONE LAST INDICATOR OF PROGRESS THAT I WOULD GIVE IS THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY JUST COORDINATED A MAJOR, NATIONAL EXERCISE CALLED TOP OFF THREE, TOP OFFICIALS, THREE IS THE THIRD TIME THIS EXERCISE HAS BEEN HELD.

THERE WERE OBSERVERS AND PARTICIPANTS FROM REALLY ACROSS THE WORLD.

THE BRITISH, CANADIANS AND OTHERS WERE PARTICIPATING.

YOU MAY HAVE READ ABOUT IT IN THE PAPERS.

IT WAS A WEEK‑LONG EXERCISE WHERE THERE WAS SIMULATED DISASTERS THAT TOOK PLACE IN NEW JERSEY AND THEN A FOLLOWING INCIDENT IN CONNECTICUT AND THEN SOME THAT HAPPENED IN BRITAIN AS WELL AND IT WAS AN EFFORT FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, STATE GOVERNMENT, LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS TO FIGURE OUT HOW ARE WE DOING IN TERMS OF RESPONDING TO A MAJOR, NATIONAL SITUATION THAT MIGHT, GOD FOR BID, HAPPEN AGAIN.

THERE WERE OBSERVERS IN TOP OFF THREE FROM DISABILITY ORGANIZATIONS.

AND THIS IS GOING TO BE A VERY SIGNIFICANT ‑‑ VERY SIGNIFICANT TO US AS WE ANALYZE THE EXERCISE, ANALYZE WHAT HAPPENED.

GET THEIR IDEAS FOR IMPROVEMENTS AND THEIR INPUT.

AND SO THEIR INPUT WILL COME BOTH FROM THEIR REPORTS AND ALSO REPORTS THEY WILL GIVE TO US THAT WE WILL THEN FEED INTO THE AFTERACTION REPORT IN TOP OFF THREE.

WE ANTICIPATE QUITE A BIT OF PROGRESS IN THE UP COMING MONTHS AS WELL.

WE ARE DUE TO GIVE THE PRESIDENT A REPORT IN JULY ON THE PROGRESS IN THE COMMISSION.

AND WE ANTICIPATE A NUMBER OF ANNOUNCEMENTS IN OTHER AREAS THERE.

ONE OF THE KEY ELEMENTS THAT WE HAVE TRIED TO STRESS AS WE WORK THROUGH THIS ISSUE IS THAT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES WILL NOT BE AND HAVE NOT BEEN PASSIVE CONSUMERS IN THIS PROCESS.

THEY HAVE SO MUCH TO OFFER ALL AMERICANS BECAUSE THEY AND THEIR FAMILIES HAVE FOUGHT THROUGH AND HAVE DEALT WITH THESE ISSUES FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS.

THEY BRING INNOVATION AND DETERMINATION TO THESE ISSUES AND SO WE FEEL AND HAVE ADDRESSED A NUMBER OF TIMES THIS CONCEPT THAT BY ADDRESSING THIS SPECIFIC POPULATION NEEDS IT WILL BENEFIT THE ENTIRE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS EFFORT, THE WHOLE PROCESS WILL BE IMPROVED WHEN YOU ADDRESS THIS SPECIFIC POPULATIONS' NEEDS.

I THINK THAT THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER IS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS IN DISABILITY POLICY IN THE LAST NUMBER OF YEARS.

SINCE 9/11, THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY LIKE MANY OTHER COMMUNITIES HAVE BEEN VERY FOCUSED ON THE ISSUE OF HOW DO I PREPARE FOR AN EMERGENCY AND HOW DO I DEAL WITH THE AFTERMATH OF AN EMERGENCY AND WE REALLY THINK THIS COUNCIL WILL BE A MAJOR STEP TO ENSURE THAT THE CURRENT WORK BEING DONE ACROSS THE COUNTRY IS STIMULATED AND COORDINATED.

AND THAT SEEMS TO ME TO BE THE REAL KEY HERE.

IF I COULD JUST FINISH WITH THIS, WHEN SEVERAL OF US WERE IN THE OVAL OFFICE WHEN THE PRESIDENT SIGNED THE EXECUTIVE ORDER AND HE POINTED US TO A PAINTING ON THE WALL THAT WAS OF APPEARED TO ME TO BE THREE OR FOUR, FIVE COWBOY SOLDIERS WHO WERE WALKING WITH THEIR HORSES TRUDGING THROUGH, YOU COULD SEE THEY WERE LABORING A AT THE END OF A LONG DAY OF TRAVELING FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER.

AND THEY WERE WORKING HARD TO GET TO THE PLACE WHERE THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO GET.

YOU COULD TELL THE HORSES WERE TIRED, THEY WERE TIRED.

THE TITLE OF THE PAINTING HE TOLD US WAS "A CHARGE TO KEEP" AND I THINK HE USED IT AS THE TITLE OF HIS BOOK.

AS WELL AND IT COMES FROM AN OLD METHOD OF HIS AND HE TOLD US THAT THE SOLDIERS HAD A CHARGE TO KEEP AND EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE BEATEN DOWN BY A LAW OF OFFICERS, THEY WERE GOING TO FOLLOW THROUGH TO KEEP THE ASSIGNMENT THEY HAD BEEN GIVEN.

IT WAS A FANTASTIC STORY AND PAINTING AND OF COURSE IT WAS INTERESTING TO LISTEN TO THE PRESIDENT AND HE POINTED HIS FINGER TO US AND TURNED TO US, AND HE SAID YOU HAVE A CHARGE TO KEEP.

HE WAS SAYING I HAVE SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER BUT THIS STILL DOESN'T GET THE JOB DONE.

WE HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO GET DONE AND YOU HAVE A CHARGE TO KEEP.

AND I KEEP THAT AND I KNOW A NUMBER OF US HAVE KEPT THAT IN OUR MINDS.

WE MUST TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY AND WE WILL SEE THIS THROUGH AND SEE SOME SIGNIFICANT ADVANCES OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS.

THANK YOU.

>> YOUNG WOO KANG: THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING USEFUL AND VERY VALUABLE INFORMATION.

WE ARE GREATLY APPRECIATIVE OF THE OUTSTANDING EFFORTS AND COMMITMENT TO INCLUDE THE DIVERSE POPULATION OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN OUR HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT.

AND AT THIS TIME I WOULD LIKE TO REMIND EACH SPEAKER HAS FIVE MINUTES.

AND NEXT TO SPEAK ‑‑ THE NEXT SPEAKER IS CHERYL HEPPNER.

MS. HEPPNER IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR NORTHERN VIRGINIA RESOURCE CENTER FOR DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING PERSONS.

SHE IS DEAF HERSELF.

I AM PLEASED TO PRESENT MS. HEPPNER TO YOU.

>> CHERYL HEPPNER: THANK YOU.

OUR CENTER SERVES THE METROPOLITAN AREA OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, WHICH INCLUDE THE PENTAGON, TWO MAJOR AIRPORTS, MANY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, DEFENSE CONTRACTORS, LARGE SHOPPING MALLS AND NUMEROUS PLACES WHERE GEORGE WASHINGTON HAD LIVED, WORKED, ATE AND SLEPT.

WE APPLAUD THE DILIGENT WORK THAT THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY HAVE WHOLE HEARTILY SUPPORT THE RECOMMENDATIONS IN THIS REPORT.

IT IS OUR HOPE THAT IT BECOMES A BLUEPRINT FOR LASTING CHANGE.

WE FIND THE REPORT HEARTENING IN THE WAY IT BONDS US WITH OTHER PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

THE DISABILITIES MAY BE DIFFERENT.

BUT A COMMON THEME IN OUR STORIES IS THAT MANY UNNECESSARY BARRIERS ARE STILL BEING FACED.

AS THIS REPORT POINTS OUT, THOSE BARRIERS ARE NOT NEW.

THE STORIES THAT WE HAVE ALREADY SHARED ABOUT OUR EXPERIENCES AND THE LESSONS THAT WE HAVE LEARNED FROM PAST EMERGENCIES HAVE NOT LED TO WIDESPREAD ACTION.

DEAFNESS AND HEARING LOSS ARE MORE ABOUT ‑‑ ARE ABOUT MORE THAN OUR ABLE TO HEAR.

AT HEART THEY ARE ABOUT THE LOSS OF COMMUNICATION.

AND MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, THAT BECOMES A LOSS NOT JUST FOR PERSONS WHO ARE DEAF OR HARD OF HEARING, BUT FOR EVERYONE WITH WHOM THAT PERSON COMES INTO CONTACT.

IT'S CRUCIAL THAT THE ATTENTION TO COMMUNICATION BE PARAMOUNT IN ANY EMERGENCY.

AND PARTICULARLY IN ATTENTION FOR COMMUNICATION FOR THOSE OF US WHO DEPEND MORE ON OUR EYES THAN OUR EARS FOR THAT COMMUNICATION.

IF WE DON'T KNOW THAT THERE IS AN EMERGENCY OR WHAT THE EMERGENCY IS AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT, ANY EMERGENCY PLAN WILL BE WORTHLESS TO US.

APPROXIMATELY 190,000 DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING PERSONS RESIDE IN OUR CENTER SERVICE AREA.

MANY OF THEM ARE PARENTS, CARETAKERS, SUPERVISORS, OR IN POSITIONS WHERE THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF OTHERS.

IN RECENT YEARS WE HAVE SEEN THE PENTAGON IN FLAMES, WE HAVE LIVED UNDER SIEGE DURING SNIPER SHOOTINGS AND HURRICANES.

OUR CENTER STRONGLY BELIEVES THAT THE INCLUSION OF PEOPLE WHO ARE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING MUST BECOME ROUTINE IN EMERGENCY AND HOMELAND SECURITY PLANNING.

TOO OFTEN PLANS ARE MADE FOR US AND NOT WITH US.

WE HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT PLANNERS ARE CONCENTRATING ON GETTING THEIR SYSTEM IN PLACE AND THEN THEY'LL TALK TO US LATER WHEN IT'S SET UP.

THE MESSAGE THAT WE GET IS THAT WE'RE AN AFTERTHOUGHT AND THEREFORE EXPENDABLE.

OUR MESSAGE IS THIS: UNLESS WE ARE INCLUDED FROM THE BEGINNING, NO SYSTEM WILL BE EFFECTIVE AND IT WILL ALWAYS BE COSTLY TO FIX IT LATER.

DURING DISASTER DRILLS AND TRAINING EXERCISES WHERE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING PEOPLE WERE INVOLVED, SOMETIMES ONLY THE ATTEMPT TO MEET THEIR NEEDS HAS BEEN IN ASKING THE QUESTION, DO YOU LIP READ?

THE TRUTH IS THAT ONLY 35% OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE IS EVEN VISIBLE ON THE LIPS AND WHEN YOU HAVE A HEARING LOSS YOU QUICKLY LEARN THAT WHEN YOU TELL SOMEONE ABOUT IT, THEY ARE ASK YOU THAT QUESTION NINE TIMES OUT OF 10, SO THAT WILL BE THE ONLY THING YOU CAN LIP READ.

EVERYTHING AFTER THAT IS TROUBLE.

AS A QUICK EXAMPLE, THE WORDS "PAT, MAD AND BAT" LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME ON THE LIPS.

OUR CENTER HAS BEEN VERY FORTUNATE TO WORK WITH DEDICATED PEOPLE IN ARLINGTON COUNTY ‑‑ THANK YOU ‑‑ WHO HAS BEEN A LEADER IN MAKING STRONG EFFORTS TO REACH OUT TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

WE ALSO HAVE GREAT ADMIRATION FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND THEIR OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES WHICH DESERVES MUCH GREATER FUNDING AND ADDITIONAL STAFF.

[LAUGHTER].

>> CHERYL HEPPNER: FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS, OUR CENTER HAS WORKED WITH DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING CONSUMER ADVOCACY NETWORK, WHICH IS A COALITION OF NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS FOR THE DEAF, HARD OF HEARING, LATE DEAFENED AND DEAF/BLIND INDIVIDUALS TO WRITE RESEARCH WHAT WE CALL OUR NATIONAL 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT.

WE HAVE DOCUMENTED CONTINUING PROBLEMS WITH TELEVISED INFORMATION AND BROUGHT THOSE PROBLEMS TO THE ATTENTION OF LOCAL STATIONS AND THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION.

THOSE PROBLEMS STILL CONTINUE.

TWO OF OUR TOP STAFF HAVE BECOME PART OF THE LOCAL MEDICAL RESERVE CORPS.

WE HAVE WORKED WITH THE NATIONAL OFFICE OF THE AMERICAN RED CROSS ON REVISIONS TO ITS DISASTER PREPAREDNESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES HANDBOOK AND WITH THE FCC'S MEDIA SECURITY AND RELIABILITY COUNCIL.

BUT WHAT IS MOST EXCITING TO US IS THAT WE RECENTLY WERE NAMED ONE OF THE FOUR REGIONAL CENTERS IN THE UNITED STATES FOR COMMUNITY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION NETWORK PROJECT, WHICH IS UNDER THE DHS GRANT TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS FOR THE DEAF.

WE NOW HAVE DEDICATED SPECIALISTS ON OUR STAFF WHO ARE SEEKING TO BRING TOGETHER DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING PEOPLE, FIRST RESPONDERS, CITIZEN CORPS, MEMBERS AND OTHER INDIVIDUALS TO EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, DISASTER RELIEF, AND HOMELAND SECURITY.

OUR WORK WILL HAVE THE BEST CHANCE OF SUCCESS IF THERE IS LEADERSHIP AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL.

THEREFORE, WE THANK THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY FOR LAYING THE CRUCIAL GROUND WORK TO MAKE THAT POSSIBLE THROUGH THIS REPORT AND ITS RECOMMENDATIONS.

THANK YOU.

>> YOUNG WOO KANG: THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR PRESENTATION, IN PARTICULAR, THE EXAMPLES YOU CITED ARE VERY INTERESTING, INSPIRATIONAL AND MOVING.

OUR NEXT SPEAKER IS BOB HYNES.

MR. HYNES IS THE CHAIRPERSON FOR ARLINGTON VIRGINIA DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMISSION.

I AM PLEASED TO PRESENT MR. HYNES.

>> ROBERT HYNES: THANK YOU, DOCTOR.

FIRST I WANT TO CONGRATULATE THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON WHAT I CONSIDER AND I KNOW MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES IN ARLINGTON CONSIDER BOTH ON THE VOLUNTEER SIDE AND IN THE GOVERNMENT AS AN EXCELLENT REPORT.

SEVERAL THOUGHTS ON THAT: I PARTICULARLY LIKE THE FACT THAT THE DEFINITION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IS BROAD AND INCLUSIVE.

I THINK THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT.

WE SOMETIMES DON'T REALIZE HOW LARGE THE POPULATION IS.

SOMETIMES THEY ARE HIDDEN AND SOMETIMES THEY DON'T APPEAR TO BE DISABLED.

SO IT'S VERY NICE TO SEE THAT PARTICULAR POINT MADE CLEARLY.

I ALSO ‑‑ AND I WOULD ECHO WHAT CHERYL JUST SAID, IT'S GOOD TO SEE THAT THE REPORT RECOGNIZES THAT THE DISABLED COMMUNITY HAS GOT TO BE BROUGHT INTO THE PLANNING STAGE WHEN ISSUES CONCERNING DISABILITY PROBLEMS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS ARE BEING DISCUSSED, ARE BEING PLANNED, ARE BEING DECIDED.

IT'S VERY NICE TO SEE THE COMMISSION COME DOWN STRONGLY ON THE FACT THAT THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY HAS GOT TO BE INCLUDED.

FINALLY A THOUGHT THAT A COLLEAGUE OF MINE HAD WHILE TALKING ABOUT THIS ISSUE A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO... WITH RESPECT TO FIRST RESPONDERS.

ONE OF THE THINGS WE THINK AND IT'S MENTIONED IN THE REPORT AND THAT'S I GUESS WHY WE WERE CHATTING ABOUT IT.

BUT ONE OF THE THINGS WE THINK IS VITALLY IMPORTANT IS THE TRAINING OF THE FIRST RESPONDERS.

ONE OF THE WAYS THAT MIGHT BE IMPROVED IS IF ALL FIRST RESPONDERS IN THEIR TRAINING AS FIRST RESPONDERS AND THEY GO THROUGH USUALLY PROGRAMS AND TRAINING.

THE FIRE DEPARTMENT HAS THEIR PLACES WHERE THEY TRAIN PEOPLE IN ALL KINDS OF FIRE, ESCAPE WORK AND ASSISTING DISABILITY PEOPLE.

BUT IF THEY PUT IT AS PART OF THE CURRICULUM AS A SEPARATE PIECE AND EVERYBODY HAD TO DO IT, I THINK IT WOULD BE AN IMPROVEMENTS.

AND I WOULD LIKE ‑‑ I JUST HOPE THAT SOMETHING LIKE THAT CAN BE ADOPTED LONG TERM BY TRAINERS OF FIRST RESPONDERS ALL THROUGH THE COUNTRY.

NOW, LET ME TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING IN ARLINGTON.

AND BEFORE I GO FURTHER, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY ONE THING.

I NOTICED THAT MARTIN TALKED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CITIZEN CORPS.

I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW VALUABLE IN ARLINGTON COUNTY'S PLANNING PROCESSES, THE ACTIVITIES OF THE CITIZEN CORPS AND ITS LEADERSHIP, JACKIE SNELING AND HER COLLEAGUES HAVE BEEN, BOTH TO MY COMMISSION AND TO THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF AS IT PLANS AND WORKS ON POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE DISABLED ARE INVOLVED IN ALL THE PLANNING THAT GOES INTO THE EMERGENCY WORK WE'RE DOING IN ARLINGTON.

THE CITIZENS CORPS HAS BEEN ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT.

I WOULD SUGGEST THAT ANY COMMUNITY THAT WANTS TO HAVE A REALLY WELL‑INVOLVED, WELL‑EDUCATED TO EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAMMING, TO SEE IF YOU CAN'T GET A CITIZENS CORPS UP AND ACTIVE.

IT IS A WONDERFUL PLACE.

NOW, WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING IN ARLINGTON?

WELL, SHORTLY AFTER THE 9/11 DISASTER, THE CITIZEN CORPS WENT INTO ACTION AS I HAVE JUST INDICATED.

THE DISABILITY COMMISSION BEGAN WORKING WITH THE CITIZENS CORPS AND THE GOVERNMENT, TRIED TO GATHER INFORMATION, UNDERSTAND WHAT PROGRAMS AND POSSIBILITIES THE GOVERNMENT WAS ABLE TO PROVIDE, WHAT IT COULD DO, WHAT IT COULDN'T DO AND AS WE BEGAN TO DISCOVER THAT INFORMATION AND REALIZE HOW LITTLE THE COUNTY CITIZENS KNEW ABOUT IT THEMSELVES, PARTICULARLY THE DISABILITY COMMISSIONS AND THE CITIZENS.

WELL, WHAT WE DECIDED TO DO WAS HOLD A SERIES OF FORUMS.

CHERYL WAS A PART OF THOSE, AS WERE MANY OTHER ADVOCATES AND SUPPORTERS OF THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY IN ARLINGTON.

SITTING DOWN AND DISCUSSING WITH THEM WHAT COULD BE DONE AND WHAT SHOULD BE DONE AND LEARNING FROM THEM WHAT NEEDED TO BE DONE WHERE MANY OF THE LEADERSHIP OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AREA AND THE FIRST RESPONDERS LEADERSHIP THEMSELVES.

WE HAD TWO OF THESE FORUMS IN THE LAST YEAR, 2004.

WE LEARNED A GOOD DEAL, I THINK, IN THAT EXCHANGE.

THE COMMUNITY THAT REPRESENTED THE DISABILITY CITIZENS WERE ABLE TO TELL US WHAT WAS NEEDED.

THEY LEARNED FROM THE FIRST RESPONDERS WHAT PROGRAMS THE GOVERNMENT HAD AVAILABLE.

THERE WAS DISCUSSION ABOUT NEEDS TO IMPROVE, THERE WAS DISCUSSIONS ABOUT NEEDS TO ENLARGE AND EXPAND.

THERE WAS A CLEAR RECOGNITION THAT WE NEEDED MORE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION AND A SYSTEM TO GET INFORMATION TO THE DISABLED COMMUNITY, NOT JUST TO ITS ADVOCATES AND ITS LEADERS.

BUT TO THE COMMUNITY ITSELF IN ALL ITS PERMEATIONS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTY.

SO WHAT DID WE DO?

WELL, THIS YEAR THE DISABILITY COMMISSION, THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND THE CITIZENS CORPS HAVE SET UP A SERIES OF FORUMS.

WE HAVE HAD, I BELIEVE, THREE SO FAR.

CHERYL, I THINK YOU WERE ON ONE LAST SATURDAY.

AND THIS IS AN EFFORT NOT TO GO ‑‑ THIS IS AN EFFORT TO GO BEYOND TALKING TO THE LEADERSHIP AND THE ADVOCATES OF THE DISABLED, BUT TO GET DOWN TO THE DISABLED THEMSELVES.

WE HAVE REACHED OUT TO CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS, CULTURAL, CIVIC AND SOCIAL GROUPS, ADVOCACY GROUPS ‑‑ EVERY PLACE WHERE YOU FIND THE DISABLED WITHIN THOSE COMMUNITIES.

AND WE HAVE BEEN GOING OUT TO THEM WITH A PROGRAM THAT IS LED BY THE FIRST RESPONDERS.

AND WE HAVE PREPARED MATERIALS WHICH WE USE IN LEADING A DISCUSSION OF WHAT THE COUNTY HAS AVAILABLE IN THE WAY OF PROGRAMS AND ASSISTANCE AND WHAT THE DISABLED COMMUNITY ITSELF NEEDS TO BE DOING IN ORDER TO PROTECT ITSELF.

ONE OF THE THINGS WE TRY TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND IS THAT IN A MAJOR EMERGENCY THERE IS NOT GOING TO BE A POLICEMAN OR A FIREMAN AND EVERYBODY IS HOME.

THERE JUST AREN'T ENOUGH.

AND WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE DISABLED COMMUNITY KNOWS WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING AND KNOWS HOW TO GET INFORMATION.

LET ME SHOW YOU A FEW THINGS.

HERE IS A CD.

THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES HAS DEVELOPED THIS.

WE ARE USING THIS IN OUR FORUMS.

WE ARE MAKING IT AVAILABLE TO GROUPS SO THAT THEY CAN HAVE IT THEMSELVES AND USE IT TO RE‑EMPHASIZE TO THEIR OWN COMMUNITIES AND GROUPS WHAT IS IN THERE.

SECONDLY, WE HAVE PREPARED A GREAT DEAL OF INFORMATION THAT WE'RE MAKING AVAILABLE.

HERE IS A LIST OF ITEMS THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE IN YOUR GO BAG, WHICH IS YOUR EMERGENCY KIT.

IF YOU HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR HOME FOR SOME REASON BECAUSE OF THE EMERGENCY, THESE ARE THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE QUICKLY ACCESSIBLE TO YOU.

SOMETHING YOU SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT AND PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME SO THAT FOR SEVERAL DAYS YOU WILL BE ABLE TO IN A SHELTER BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND HAVE THE THINGS YOU NEED.

HERE IS A CHECKLIST FOR PERSONAL DISASTER PREPARATION.

IT GIVES A GREAT DEAL OF INFORMATION ABOUT THE KINDS OF THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE AVAILABLE AND TAKE WITH YOU IF YOU HAVE TO LEAVE WHERE YOU ARE ‑‑ YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION, WHO ARE YOUR MEDICAL PROVIDERS, SENSITIVITIES TO MEDICINES, YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE INFORMATION, NAMES AND TELEPHONE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE IN YOUR NETWORK OF FRIENDS WHO NEED TO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AND HOW YOU ARE SO THEY CAN HELP.

THIS IS AVAILABLE.

SUMMARY CHECK OF DISASTER SUPPLIES.

YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT THOSE ARE.

THOSE COVER AND RANGE FROM BATTERY‑DRIVEN AND POWERED EQUIPMENT LIKE RADIOS.

IF YOU HAVE A VENTILATOR, DO YOU HAVE A BACK‑UP SYSTEM FOR YOUR VENTILATOR.

IT'S TO BE BATTERY POWERED.

IF ELECTRICITY GOES OUT, AGAIN, YOU CAN'T EXPECT IMMEDIATELY TO HAVE A POLICEMAN AT YOUR DOOR TO GET TO YOU.

DO YOU HAVE FRIENDS ‑‑ DO YOU HAVE A LIST OF PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AND KNOW HOW TO FIND YOU AND HELP YOU?

SO THIS KIND OF INFORMATION WE ARE TAKING TO THE COUNTY, TO THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY, WHEREVER WE FIND IT IN THE COUNTY AND WORKING WITH GROUPS LIKE THE DEAF COMMUNITY AND CHERYL'S ORGANIZATION.

WE HAVE BEEN GOING OUT AND TRYING TO IDENTIFY THOSE FOLKS WHO NEED TO KNOW WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR THEM AND WHAT THEY MUST DO FOR THEMSELVES.

AND WE ARE TRYING TO TAKE THAT AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO TAKE THAT FOR THE NEXT YEAR I SUSPECT TO EVERY ORGANIZATION, SOCIAL, CIVIC, RELIGIOUS GROUP WE CAN FIND IN THE COUNTY WHO WILL GIVE US AN HOUR AND BRING THEIR GROUP TOGETHER.

THAT'S WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO MAKE SURE, THAT THE CITIZENS KNOW EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO KNOW.

THAT FIRST RESPONDERS RECOGNIZE AND ANSWER THE QUESTIONS OF THE CITIZENS AND BOTH SIDES OF THE EQUATION IF YOU WILL UNDERSTAND WHAT EACH SIDE HAS TO DO IN ORDER TO ENSURE THE GREATEST SAFETY WE CAN POSSIBLY PROVIDE FOR OUR DISABLED CITIZENS.

THANK YOU.

>> YOUNG WOO KANG: THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE AND MAKING SOME SUGGESTIONS AND IN PARTICULAR WE ARE GRATEFUL TO YOUR POSITIVE COMMENT AND WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT ON OUR REPORT.

OUR NEXT SPEAKER IS KATIE SAVAGE.

SHE WILL SHARE HER EXPERIENCE AS A WINNING PLAINTIFF.

SHE SET ‑‑ HER CASE HAS SET PRECEDENCE IN EMERGENCY EVACUATION CASES.

KATIE SAVAGE VERSUS CITY PLACE MALL.

HERE IS KATIE.

>> KATIE SAVAGE: GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

SAVING LIVES, INCLUDING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN EMERGENCY PLANNING... AS I READ THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITIES' REPORT, I DIGESTED ITS CONTENTS WITH A HIGH SPIRIT.

TWO WORDS FOLLOWED MY THOUGHTS: "OPTIMISTIC AND HOPE."

NAVIGATING THE PAGES I DISCOVERED A CHALLENGE THIS GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT MUST ACT ON INSTANTLY AND CONNECT THE DOTS.

YES, THE ISSUES ARE TOUGH TO PROTECT THE OUTCOME.

THIS REPORT IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT TELLS OUR LAWMAKERS WHAT THEY NEED TO KNOW, WHAT THEY NEED TO DO FOR THE VULNERABLE POPULATION DURING AND AFTER A DISASTER.

MANY INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES SURRENDER THEIR LIVES TO THE WISDOM OF DECISIONS FROM POLICIES SET UP TO SAFEGUARD THEIR LIVES.

OUR ELECTED LEADERS MUST NOT PLAY OR TAKE LIGHTLY THE SURVIVAL OF ALL PEOPLE.

THERE SHOULD BE A NATIONAL GOAL FOR THESE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES.

LIGHTENING IS BACK IN THE BOTTLE, BUT FOR HOW LONG?

LIVING IN A POST 9/11 WORLD TO ME HAS BECOME LIKE AN ELEPHANT IN MY BATHTUB.

[LAUGHTER].

>> KATIE SAVAGE: YES, I HAVE A DISABILITY, BUT I MUSTN'T BE DISABLED BECAUSE OF IT.

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITIES FOR PUTTING TOGETHER A DETAILED AND THOROUGH REPORT.

NOW, TO SPEAK BRIEFLY ABOUT MY LAWSUIT... I'LL JUST GIVE YOU SOME SMALL DETAILS.

WHY DID I BRING THIS LAWSUIT?

WELL, I'M THE TYPE OF PERSON AND I DON'T LIKE BEING A VICTIM AND WHEN THIS INCIDENT HAPPENED, I HAD TO SUCK IT IN AND SUCK IT UP.

PROBABLY MUCH LIKE A SOLDIER IN BATTLE.

BECAUSE THERE WAS NO ONE THERE TO HELP ME.

I HAD NOWHERE TO GO.

I WASN'T ALONE.

THERE WERE OTHER INDIVIDUALS WITH ME WHO FOR SOME REASON COULD NOT LEAVE THE AREA OF THE MALL THAT WE WERE IN BECAUSE THERE WAS NO WAY OUT.

THE ONLY EXIT WAS STEPS.

THERE WERE NO RAMPS.

THE ELEVATOR SHUT OFF.

THE ESCALATOR SHUT OFF.

AND PANIC SWIFTLY MOVED INTO THE MALL.

I NEVER SAW ANY SECURITY GUARDS.

I DID HEAR, HOWEVER, SIRENS THAT CAME.

BUT NO ONE MADE A SEARCH OF THE MALL.

HAD SOMEONE DID THAT, THEY WOULD HAVE FOUND ME ALONG WITH MAYBE ABOUT SEVEN OTHER PEOPLE.

I WAS IN THIS PARTICULAR AREA FOR PRETTY CLOSE TO AN HOUR BEFORE I COULD GET OUT.

AND WHAT REALLY SCARED ME STIFF TO THE POINT WHERE I COULDN'T EVEN SPIT WAS SEEING LITTLE INNOCENT TODDLERS RUNNING AROUND, THEIR PARENTS, THEY WERE LIKE HYSTERICAL.

THEY LEFT THEIR CHILDREN AND THEY RAN UP THE STEPS, LEAVING THEIR BABIES AND I NEVER ‑‑ I MEAN, I DON'T THINK STEVEN KING WOULD HAVE WRITTEN ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

THEY LEFT THEIR BABIES.

AND I COULDN'T ‑‑ I JUST COULDN'T UNDERSTAND AND WHY THIS WAS HAPPENING.

SO I GUESS THE THING THAT I STARTED TO DO WAS WHAT I THINK MOST PEOPLE DO WHEN THEY ARE IN A SITUATION, I STARTED TO BARTER WITH GOD.

OH, GOD, IF YOU GET ME OUT OF THIS, I WON'T DRIVE MY WHEELCHAIR AND SCARE PEOPLE ON THE STREET.

[LAUGHTER].

>> KATIE SAVAGE: YOU KNOW, THOSE ARE THE TYPE OF THINGS THAT WAS GOING THROUGH MY HEAD.

AND THEN I STARTED THINKING ABOUT MY FAMILY.

AND I HAD ‑‑ WE DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A CELL PHONE.

I WAS THINKING OH, WELL ‑‑ I WAS THINKING ABOUT MY MOM AND MY DAD WHO LIVES IN NEW YORK.

AND I SAID, WELL, AT LEAST I HAVE I.D. ON ME.

AND I THOUGHT THAT BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE RUNNING AROUND IN THE MALL SAYING THAT THERE WERE TERRORISTS IN THE MALL AND EVERYBODY THAT CAME BY ME, I WAS SAYING, HMM, ARE YOU A TERRORIST?

ARE YOU A TERRORIST?

AND I WAS LOOKING FOR, YOU KNOW, SOMEONE THAT LOOKS SUSPICIOUS OR SCARY.

AND I NEVER SAW ANY TERRORISTS.

THEN THEY WERE SCREAMING THERE WAS A BOMB.

AND I SAID, WELL, I KNOW THIS IS IT.

THIS IS IT, KATIE, YOU KNOW, WE'RE OUT OF HERE.

BUT THE SIRENS WERE ‑‑ THE ALARMS IN THE MALL CONTINUED TO JUST, YOU KNOW ‑‑ YOU COULDN'T ‑‑ WE PEOPLE WHO WERE LIKE TRAPPED IN THE MALL, WE COULDN'T EVEN TALK TO EACH OTHER BECAUSE THE ALARMS WERE JUST SO LOUD.

AND I SAID, GOD, IF YOU LET ME GET OUT OF THIS, I WILL ‑‑ I WILL REALLY TRY HARD TO SEE WHAT I CAN DO IN TERMS OF NOT LETTING THIS HAPPEN TO SOMEONE ELSE BECAUSE I WAS REALLY FRIGHTENED AND I HAD NEVER BEEN SO AFRAID AND I NEVER FELT SO ALONE.

AND LIKE I SAID, I DON'T LIKE BEING A VICTIM, AND I THINK WE CHOOSE, YOU KNOW, HOW WE'RE GOING TO COME OUT OF SOMETHING.

AND I HAD SOME ROUGH TIMES AFTERWARDS.

BUT I'M GLAD NOW, YOU KNOW, I CAN JOKE ABOUT IT, I CAN LOOK BACK.

I KNOW NOW THAT I CAN REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND I CAN TRY TO MAKE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE.

AS CITIZENS, IT'S OUR PUBLIC RIGHT AND LIKE I SAID, I HAVE A DISABILITY, BUT I DON'T WANT ANYONE TO DISABLE ME.

I'M NOT A SICK PERSON.

I JUST HAVE JUVENILE RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS.

SO THAT'S PART OF WHAT MY LAWSUIT WAS ALL ABOUT.

THANK YOU.

>> YOUNG WOO KANG: THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR DIRECTIONS AND EXPERIENCE.

THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL FOR US.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT AND INSTEAD OF Q&A SESSION, WE WOULD LIKE TO ASK EACH OF OUR THREE PANELISTS ON THE LEFT TO MAKE A ONE‑MINUTE STATEMENT EACH.

THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL.

FIRST, MR. OLLIE CANTOS.

MR. CANTOS IS A SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, CIVIL RIGHTS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.

>> OLLIE CANTOS: GOOD MORNING, EVERYBODY.

IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE.

WHEN WE LISTENED TO THE SPEAKERS AND FOR THE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN TALKED ABOUT TODAY, WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER PHILOSOPHIC CHICAGO AND I'M GOING TO BE SPEAKING QUICKLY NOT BECAUSE I'M A COFFEE DRINK, BUT JUST BECAUSE I HAVE A MINUTE TO GO.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT WE HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE EMERGENCY PROCESS ALL THE WAY THROUGH AND NOT ONLY THAT AS PEOPLE ON THE DISABILITY MOVE THROUGH ON THAT FRONT, WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO FOLLOW POLICIES AND PRACTICES SO THAT WAY PEOPLE WON'T HAVE TO REINVENT THE PROVERBIAL WHEEL.

AND BY EVERYBODY BEING HERE TODAY, WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS TAKE THE NEXT ACTION STEP IT IS TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THE REPORT AND WHAT THE REPORT CONTAINS BUT ALSO TO BE IN TOUCH WITH US HERE ON THIS PANEL SO THAT WE CAN WORK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ALL OF YOU TO MAKE SURE THAT EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IS DONE IN SUCH A WAY THAT WE AS PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE NOT AN AFTERTHOUGHT BUT WE INSTEAD ARE PART OF THE PROCESS ALL THE WAY THROUGH AND ULTIMATELY WHAT ENDS UP HAPPENING AS THE REPORT SAYS, WE DO END UP SAVING LIVES AND ALSO PREVENTING INJURY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND I THINK I HAVE A FEW SECONDS TO SPARE.

SO REAL QUICK, FOR THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE MATERIALS THAT WE HAVE, YOU COULD GO TO WWW.ADA.GOV AND I SPARED THREE SECONDS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

[LAUGHTER].

>> YOUNG WOO KANG: OKAY.

NEXT SPEAKER WILL BE HILARY STYRON, ACTING DIRECTOR FOR EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS INITIATIVE FOR NOD, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION ON DISABILITY.

>> HILARY STYRON: GOOD MORNING, EVERYBODY.

IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE REPRESENTING NOD.

I JUST WANT TO COMMEND THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY FOR THEIR REPORT SAVING LIVES.

AND LET EVERYONE KNOW THAT WE FULLY SUPPORT THE REPORT, ITS RESEARCH AND THE FINDINGS FROM WHERE WE HAVE COME FROM, TO WHERE WE'RE GOING AND THE WORK THAT HAS YET TO BE DONE.

EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM IS CHALLENGED AND AS DAN ALLUDED TO THE METAPHOR FROM THE PHOTO, THE PAINTING IN THE OVAL OFFICE, I THINK WE DO HAVE A CHARGE TO KEEP.

I JUST WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU A COUPLE OF STATISTICS SO YOU REMEMBER THIS, A 2001 AND 2002 HARRIS POLL SURVEY THAT NOD CONDUCTED, 61% OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES STILL HAVE NOT YET MADE EMERGENCY EVACUATION PLANS FROM THEIR OWN HOME.

IN ADDITION TO THAT, A 2004 SURVEY OF EMERGENCY MANAGERS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY INDICATED THAT ONLY 22% OF EMERGENCY MANAGERS IN A SELF‑AFFIRMING SURVEY SAID THAT THEY HAVE PLANS UNDERWAY TO INCLUDE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN THEIR EMERGENCY PROCEDURES.

IN THIS SAME SELF‑AFFIRMING SURVEY, 42% OF EMERGENCY MANAGERS SURVEYED INDICATED THAT THEY HAD EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION AVAILABLE IN ACCESSIBLE FORMATS ‑‑ SORRY, EXCUSE ME, HAD EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION GEARED TOWARDS PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

16% OF THOSE 42 HAD IT IN ALTERNATIVE FORMATS.

SO THAT IS A VERY LOW NUMBER.

IF YOU HAVE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLANS AND THEY ARE NOT ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, THEN YOU REALLY DON'T HAVE A PLAN.

THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY REPORT INDICATES THAT THAT IS A NECESSARY NEED FOR PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND I HOPE THAT AS WE WORK TOGETHER AND MOVE THIS INITIATIVE FORWARD THAT WE CAN OVERCOME SOME OF THESE STATISTICS AND OBSTACLES THAT INDIVIDUAL FACE.

THANK YOU.

>> YOUNG WOO KANG: OKAY.

THANK YOU.

THE NEXT SPEAKER WILL BE CHERYL KING, DEPUTY CHIEF OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS OFFICE AT FCC, FEDERAL COMMUNICATION COMMISSION.

>> CHERYL KING: THANK YOU AND GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

I AM VERY PLEASED TO BE HERE TO CONGRATULATE THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITIES FOR THIS EXCELLENT REPORT.

IT PROVIDES A ROAD MAP FOR ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES AND I'M PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT THE FCC HAS RESPONDED NOT NECESSARILY TO THIS REPORT, BUT THE ISSUE THAT IS ARE RAISED IN THE REPORT.

RECENTLY THE COMMISSION RELEASED THREE NOTICES OF APPARENT LIABILITY ON THREE TELEVISION BROADCASTERS IN THE SAN DIEGO/CALIFORNIA REGION IN RESPONSE TO COMPLAINS FROM CITIZENS THAT EMERGENCY INFORMATION ABOUT THE WILD FIRES IN 2003 WERE NOT PRESENTED IN ACCESSIBLE FORMATS.

FOR INSTANCE, EVACUATION OF CERTAIN CANYONS WERE NOTIFIED TO THE PUBLIC IN A VERBAL MEANS BUT SEVERAL HOURS LATER, IT WAS AVAILABLE TO PERSONS WITH HEARING DISABILITIES IN A VISUAL FORMAT.

WE HAVE HEARD THAT THE BROADCASTERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAVE RECOGNIZED THIS AS A WAKE‑UP CALL AND IN HEARING WITH SOME OF THE CAPTIONING COMPANIES, THEY ARE GETTING CALLS ASKING HOW TO GET CAPTIONING BECAUSE THEY ARE RESPONDING TO THIS NAL AND THEY DON'T WANT TO BE FINED.

WE ARE WORKING ON ENFORCEMENT OF OUR SECTION 79.2, WHICH IS THE SECTION UNDER WHICH THESE NOTICES OF APPARENT LIABILITY WERE FOUND.

WE ALSO ARE WORKING TO GET TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PRIORITY FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES FACILITIES.

THE RELAY SERVICES THAT PROVIDE THE DIAL TONE FOR PERSONS WHO ARE DEAF, HARD OF HEARING AND HAVE SPEECH DISABILITIES.

THEY RELY ON THIS AS THEIR COMMUNICATION NETWORK AND IN TIMES OF A DISASTER OR EMERGENCY SHOULD THE TELEPHONE SYSTEMS TO THOSE FACILITIES GO DOWN.

THEY WILL BE RECEIVING PRIORITY RESTORATION SERVICE SHOULD THEY GO DOWN.

WE ARE DOING A NUMBER OF THINGS IN OUR DISABILITY RIGHTS OFFICE.

WE DO PARTICIPATE IN THE COUNCIL IN EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS THAT DAN MENTIONED AND OLLIE HERE AND I SEE ABRAHAM IN THE AUDIENCE AND DR. GIONNINI FROM HHS AND A NUMBER OF FOLKS THAT ARE HERE TODAY ARE WORKING ON THAT COUNCIL.

THE REPORT COMING AFTER A DECEMBER 2004 RELEASE OF A REPORT FROM THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING CONSUMER ACTION NETWORK, WHICH CHERYL HEPPNER IS A PART, PROVIDES US, PROVIDES ME WITH CONCRETE MATERIAL THAT I CAN USE TO REFER TO, TO CONTINUE TO EDUCATE AND PROVIDE OUTREACH TO FOLKS AND AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THINGS ARE WORKING POSITIVELY, THE EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE INTERAGENCY COUNCIL AFTER REVIEWING THE DHH CAA REPORT ‑‑ AND I'M SORRY IF I'M OVER A MINUTE ‑‑ ASKED CHERYL AND A NUMBER OF HER COLLEAGUES TO PRESENT THAT REPORT TO THE EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION SUB COMMITTEE.

THEY DID SO.

AND SITTING AROUND THE TABLE WAS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATION, FEMA.

AND AFTER THE MEETING HE SAID I NEED TO GET THESE FOLKS IN TO TALK WITH MY FOLKS AND HAVE THEM SEE AND HEAR WHAT I HAVE JUST SEEN AND HEARD.

AND INDEED WE DID CONVENE THAT MEETING AND THE PURPOSE OF WHICH IS TO CONTINUE THE EDUCATION OF PERSONS RESPONSIBLE FOR EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS ISSUES.

AND SO THE COLLABORATION AND THE COORDINATION IS MAKING POSITIVE STEPS FORWARD AND WE CONTINUE TO DO THAT WORK.

THANK YOU.

>> YOUNG WOO KANG: THANK YOU.

AND IT IS TIME FOR CONCLUSION NOW.

TODAY'S EVENT HAS BEEN VERY PRODUCTIVE AND SUCCESSFUL.

ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY, I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS MY SINCERE THANKS TO EACH AND ALL OF THE PARTICIPANTS, INCLUDING ‑‑ INCLUDING THE PANELISTS.

AND I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE A FEW SENTENCE QUOTATION FOR THE CLOSING REMARKS: ONE PHILOSOPHER 400 YEARS AGO SAID, QUOTATION "IF EVERY MANDATE OF MAN, THE WHOLE WORLD WOULD BE MANDATE.

THE HEALING OF THE WORLD IS IN SAMENESS SAINT.

EACH IS SEPARATE START SINCE NOTHING BUT THE STARS BREAK OF THE NIGHT AND MAKE IT BEAUTIFUL.

THIS ISSUE IS VERY COMPLEX AND EXPENSIVE, BUT TOGETHER WE CAN DO."

THANK YOU FOR COMING TODAY.

[APPLAUSE].

[END]

"THIS TEXT IS BEING PROVIDED IN A ROUGH DRAFT FORMAT. COMMUNICATION ACCESS REALTIME TRANSLATION (CART) IS PROVIDED IN ORDER TO FACILITATE COMMUNICATION ACCESSIBILITY AND MAY NOT BE A TOTALLY VERBATIM RECORD OF THE PROCEEDINGS."

National Council on Disability • 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850 • Washington, DC 20004