Today marks the close of our first ever National “Getting Real” Conference, that brought together leaders from emergency management and disability communities to continue the discussion about how we can plan for the entire community, not just part of it. The three day forum was held in Baltimore.
All too often in emergency management we plan for what’s easy. We plan for middle class people that have cars, a high school education, English as their primary language, and so on.
We don’t plan for what’s real. We don’t plan for children, the elderly, or people with disabilities.
Bringing together people from a wide variety of backgrounds, including advocates, leaders from non-profit organizations, federal, state and local government, is about taking the next step in changing the way the emergency management community plans – and who we plan for.
When I came to FEMA I knew we had a lot of work to do in planning for real. That’s why we created the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC), to provide guidance, tools, methods and strategies to integrate and coordinate emergency management efforts to meet the needs of all citizens, including children and adults with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.
And that’s why we put together this conference, to move the dialogue forward. I often say, FEMA is not the team, we’re only part of the team. Only by working together and planning for the entire community, can we successfully respond to and recover from the next disaster.
For more information on how you and your family can be prepared, visit www.ready.gov.
Craig Fugate is the Administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency