News Release

January 17, 2007

Contact: Carolyn Pennington, 860-679-4864

Emergency Preparedness and Response for People with Disabilities

New Training Program from the UConn Center on Disabilities

FARMINGTON, CONN. – The University of Connecticut A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service is offering a new training program to planners and first responders across Connecticut. The training is available statewide and addresses issues including registries, evacuation tips and techniques, shelter considerations, and more. The program is designed for municipal, regional and state emergency planners and first responders. It can be tailored to any Connecticut community and is taught by leaders in the disability community.

Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many people were left wondering how they would do in the event of a disaster. This concern is especially relevant for the 54 million Americans with disabilities. Officials in Louisiana say many of the more than one thousand of those who died as a result of Hurricane Katrina were people with disabilities.

A nationwide Harris survey commissioned by the National Organization on Disability found that 69 percent of emergency managers in states and large, mid-size, and small cities have incorporated the needs of people with disabilities into emergency plans. Another 22 percent said they plan to do so. Calling the results “heartening,” NOD President Alan Reich noted that only 54 percent had plans for dealing with school students with disabilities, 59 percent had no plans for pediatric populations, and 76 percent had no paid expert in preparedness for people with disabilities.

For more information about disaster preparedness for people with disabilities, visit or contact Jessica Jagger at or 860-679-1584.

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