Compelled by the attacks of September 11, 2001, the National Organization on Disability (NOD) launched the Emergency Preparedness Initiative (EPI) to ensure that emergency managers include people with disabilities in all levels of emergency preparedness--planning, response, and recovery. The NOD is the only cross-disability organization that has a fully dedicated emergency preparedness program operated by seasoned emergency management and disability experts. Retail giant Walmart, recognizing the EPI's unique ability to address emergency concerns affecting people with disabilities before, during, and after emergencies recently awarded the organization a $500,000 grant. Here, NOD's President Carol Glazer discusses with EP the recent award and the organization's mission.
Exception Parent (EP): What exactly is the National Organization on Disability's Emergency Preparedness Initiative (EPI) and why do you think Walmart has chosen it to receive this grant?
Carol Glazer (CG): Part of the National Organization on Disability's mission is to ensure equal access to people with disabilities in "all aspects of community life." EPI is the division that provides technical assistance and collaborative opportunities for federal, state, and local community emergency programs to address the needs of people with disabilities regarding planning, preparing, response and recovery from emergencies and disasters. Additionally, EPI is now delivering training and technical assistance programs for workplace emergency programs for businesses that hire employees with disabilities.
The relationship between Walmart and EPI has been long standing. Walmart Corporation has supported EPI in the past. Walmart recognizes the extraordinary value of the EPI program and determined that the need and issue is critical to creating resilient communities and individuals across the United States.
EP: How will the receipt of this grant affect EPI's work?
CG: This grant will enable EPI to expand our technical assistance through media outreach events, distribution of emergency preparedness materials through our annual National Mail Distribution Project, as well as the creation of a comprehensive personal preparedness DVD that will be fully accessible for people with disabilities.
EP: There is no doubt as to how valuable the work of EPI has been. Can you tell us a little about how your team's work has made an impact on legislation, etc.?
CG: When legislation is proposed on [Capitol] Hill, EPI is usually contacted to review or incorporate language that is fully inclusive of people with disabilities, as well as effective for emergency managers. …