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Disaster

Settlement to Protect Persons with Disabilities when Disaster Strikes

Rescue van

Washington, DC – Disability advocacy groups and the District of Columbia have reached a groundbreaking settlement agreement after years of negotiations that will result in significant improvements to the District’s emergency preparedness and response programs for thousands of people with disabilities who live in, work in, or travel to the nation’s capital for tourism and communications with their elected representatives.

The agreement settles a 2014 lawsuit filed on behalf of United Spinal Association, DC Center for Independent Living, and two District residents with disabilities, represented by Disability Rights Advocates, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and Drinker Biddle &Reath LLP.

The lawsuit alleged a myriad of critical deficiencies which, if left unaddressed, would have resulted in people with disabilities being left behind in large scale disasters. These problems included not putting accessible evacuation options in place and not planning for emergency communications with persons with hearing and vision disabilities.

Read more at DRA

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