For Immediate Release
Contact: David Card
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is thrilled to announce the launch of a creative new initiative to improve fire safety protocols for people with disabilities. The project is funded through a grant awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
“Too often the needs of people with disabilities are ignored before, during, and after emergencies,” said NDRN’s Disaster Protection Advisor Justice Shorter. “The aim of this project is to build inclusive fire safety protocols by addressing systemic inequities and incorporating intersectional approaches to enhance community fire safety.”
NDRN is providing project-based grants to the Georgia Advocacy Office, the Native American Disability Law Center, the Alaska Disability Law Center, Disability Rights California, and American Somoa Protection and Advocacy. The agencies will assist in the development of projects that target individuals with disabilities, caregivers, and fire service members. The initiatives will be developed in consultation with individuals with disabilities and will target specific locations in their communities for improvement.
The project-based grants to Protection and Advocacy agencies will address the following:
- The Georgia Advocacy Office will collaborate with the City of Decatur Fire Department, American Red Cross, and other agencies involved in fire safety, prevention, and training to the community.
- The Native American Disability Law Center will work with four Chapter Houses on the Navajo Nation (all in Shiprock agency) to start and/or expand relationships for people with disabilities and their regional fire and safety First-Responders.
- American Samoa Protection and Advocacy will implement an inclusive fire safety project specifically to enhance fire safety initiatives at the Fatuoaiga compound in the village of Tafuna.
- Disability Rights California will develop a comprehensive community outreach program that will educate and encourage their clients about forward planning, evacuation procedures, and what to do before, during and after a wildfire.
- The Disability Law Center of Alaska will conduct a comprehensive review of Alaska fire safety laws, regulations and policies, and examine other states’ approaches to address this problem. The findings will be discussed with disability groups with the goal of enhancing Alaska’s approach to fire safety rules to better protect individuals with disabilities.
“It is critical for the success of these projects to include the voices of people with disabilities so that our efforts most effectively meet the needs of the people most impacted,” continued Shorter. “We are thrilled to be partnering with these five NDRN member agencies who are fierce advocates for the safety of all people with disabilities.”
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.