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Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED About Integration & Inclusion of Disability Communities into the Disaster Response and Recovery Process In Mississippi?
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? In Mississippi, emergencies and disasters happen quickly and many times without warning. Emergency response teams, local officials, and relief workers are usually the first responders on the scene. In such crisis, no one should be left behind. There is still a great need to educate, train, and bring awareness of disability issues an needs to state agencies, local government, and communities as they relate to disaster preparedness and emergency response.
What Mississippi Says It Learned Robert R. Latham Jr, Executive Director Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Testimony Before the House Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, 12/07/05
What Mississippi Says Worked COORDINATION WITH COUNTY EMERGENCY PLANS AND CAPABILITIES. The State of Mississippi has a very comprehensive emergency management law that outlines roles and responsibilities for implementation of the Governor’s authorities during emergencies and disasters. This law makes MEMA responsible for the emergency management plan and tasks us with oversight of all emergency plans at the state and local level. Through this law we are able to ensure consistency and compliance with the state Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) and the National Response Plan (NRP). The law also requires that this plan include an evacuation and shelter component, a disaster response and recovery component, use of the National Guard, communication and warning, training and exercise, and urban search and rescue.
What Mississippi Say Needs Improvement §Clarification of the Roles and Responsibilities of the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) and Principle Federal Official (PFO) § Federal Logistics System. §Temporary Housing. §Subject-Matter Experts. §Debris Removal. §Contracting and Sub-Contracting. §National System to Track Missing Persons.
Prepare • Training Sponsored by the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund The goal is to raise the level of awareness and preparedness so that individuals living in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are increasingly resilient in the event of future disasters. This program is intended to specifically focus outreach efforts to people with disabilities and seniors living in these communities.
Sheltering During Katrina
Prepare • Sheltering Task Force A Sheltering Task Force has been established by the MS Department of Human Services to improve the efficiency of evacuations and sheltering in future disasters. MEMA, County EMA Directors, the MS Dept. of Human Services, MS Dept. of Health, State Representatives, local Elected Officials and the American Red Cross have partnered for Regional Council Meetings. Issues related to emergency preparedness and response that impact these areas during disaster events are discussed at these meetings.
Disability Community Evacuation For evacuations of disability communities, school buses have been modified to accommodate wheelchairs and other disability related equipment. Bus evacuations, if required, will be coordinated by the local emergency agencies.
Special Needs Sheltering The American Red Cross provides for non-medical special needs evacuees at the general population shelters. The MS Department of Health provides sheltering for those with special medical needs.
Special Medical Needs Sheltering A special medical needs shelter is a temporary emergency facility capable of providing care to residents whose medical conditions are such that they exceed the capabilities of the Red Cross Shelter but are not severe enough to require hospitalization. Health Department nurses support these shelters. The Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi Board of Animal Health coordinate the operation of special medical needs shelters and pet shelters with the American Red Cross.
Current Special Medical Needs Shelter Locations Jackson State University Jackson, MS Holmes Community College Grenada, MS Hinds Community College Raymond, MS Meridian Community College Meridian, MS Hudspeth Regional Center Whitfield, MS East Central Community College Decatur, MS Pearl River Community College Hattiesburg, MS Copiah Lincoln Community College Wesson, MS Southwest MS Community College Summit, MS MS Gulf Coast Community College Lucedale, MS Pearl River Community College Poplarville, MS Stone County State SMNS Wiggins, MS MS Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, MS
Special Medical Needs Sheltering Locations Under Development There are currently four more Special Medical Needs shelters under development. East Central Community College Holmes Community College Jackson State University Meridian Community College Decatur, MS Grenada, MS Jackson, MS Meridian, MS
Available Special Medical Needs Shelters Category III to Category V Tropical Storm to Category II
Special Medical Needs Sheltering Stone County Special Medical Needs Shelter Unprecedented facility designed to house a total of approximately 350 patients, caregivers and staff for a minimum of 72 hours Approximately 21, 000 square feet with budget of $6, 500, 000 Will meet and/or exceed FEMA 361 requirements Wiggins, MS
Special Needs Registries Neither the American Red Cross nor the MS Department of Health currently have special needs or special medical needs “at-risk” registries. The MS Department of Health is currently exploring options and working with vendors regarding a web-based registry system. They are also working with 2 -1 -1 MS for citizens without internet access to register.
Mississippi Alternative Housing Pilot Program The Mississippi Alternative Housing Program was funded by a $281 million federal grant and is administered by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. The purpose of the program was to develop and produce a safer and more comfortable temporary housing unit for use after a disaster. The program also addressed additional goals such as new approaches to management of units and the option of allowing units to go from temporary to permanent.
Mississippi Alternative Housing Pilot Program The Mississippi Cottage, in both two and three bedroom styles, replaced the FEMA mobile home. These units are modular, stick-built homes that can be converted into permanent dwellings. The Mississippi Cottage unit was made available in an ADA-compliant model.
FEMA State Led Disaster Housing Task Force Mississippi is participating in the State-Led Disaster Housing Task Force (SLDHTF) Program coordinated by FEMA. The concept of SLDHTF originated with the FEMA National Disaster Housing Strategy, published January 16, 2009, based on goals defined in the Strategy. This program addresses challenges identified in other alternative housing programs.
FEMA State Led Disaster Housing Task Force The program provides specific guidance on: • The functions of an SLDHTF • How to establish an SLDHTF • SLDHTF suggested membership • How an SLDHTF fits into the national disaster housing picture Provisions for citizens with disabilities are included in the documents prepared for implementation of the program.
BIG QUESTION? WHO OR WHAT IS MISSING FROM THIS PLAN?
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ADVOCATES
IN CONCLUSION q. All levels of government experienced systemic failures in their efforts to respond to the needs of the disability and aging populations following Hurricane Katrina. q. It is time now to move from lessons learned to lessons applied. q. Emergency professionals and response organizations must seek out and utilize the expertise of disability and aging networks to reduce or eliminate barriers to effective service delivery.
Report on Special Needs Assessment for Katrina Evacuees Project (SNAKE) “We, as a nation, can do more to improve the outcomes for people with disabilities and the aging population the next time disaster strikes— and there will be a next time. ”.
N LUSIVE PLA AN INC MISSISSIPPI COALITION FOR CITIZENS WITH DISABILITIES 1 -800 -721 -7255 601 -7255 Relay 711 www. mscd. org