ADA Ruling Puts Emergency Planners On Notice
A recent court ruling that New York City’s emergency plans violate the Americans with Disabilities Act could have widespread implications for cities across the country.
Last week, a federal judge ruled that New York is not adequately prepared to help its residents with disabilities in the event of a disaster, citing insufficient evacuation plans and shelters that are inaccessible, reports NPR.
The ruling came in the first case of its kind to go to trial and followed last year’s Superstorm Sandy when many of the city’s residents with disabilities were left stranded.
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Now, experts say other cities are on notice. Bryan Koon, a member of the board of the National Emergency Management Association, told NPR that New York has been well respected for its emergency planning so a ruling against the city will likely spark officials in other localities to rethink their approach.
That’s a step in the right direction, disability advocates say.
“I think these are really life and death issues for people with disabilities,” Sam Bagenstos, who teaches disability law at the University of Michigan, told NPR. “And this is a case that establishes the principle that people with disabilities, like everybody else, have to be fully accounted for in emergency preparedness actions.”