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The Web to Help WI People with Disabilities in a Disaster

September 21, 2009

MADISON, Wisc. - When disaster strikes, it's tough on everyone, but for people with disabilities it's even tougher. September is National Preparedness Month, which encourages everyone to be better prepared to face emergencies and disasters.

For people with disabilities in Wisconsin, being prepared will get a bit easier starting this week. A new on-line resource, "Disaster and Preparedness Central," is available, according to Michael Steinhauer, head of the Disaster Readiness Project for the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (WBPDD).

"This website will help guide people with their planning efforts to manage the needs of people with disabilities in the community during an emergency or disaster."

The web resource was designed with both agencies and end users in mind, Steinhauer says.

"There are specific articles for consumers about their personal and family readiness plans, and they can be easily downloaded."

Many counties in Wisconsin do not have adequate emergency plans in place for people with disabilities, Steinhouer warns, but he says it is an area of emerging awareness.

"The art and science and the body of knowledge on emergency and disaster planning for people with disabilities is still in its infancy, but it's about to enter its teenage stage."

"Disaster and Preparedness Central" can be found at www.wi-bpdd.org.

The WBPDD Disaster Readiness Project also provides on-site consultation to county departments, local police, fire departments and various community organizations.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI