Recognizing that individuals with disabilities should feel as safe and secure in their communities and work environments as individuals without disabilities, on July 22, 2004, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13347, Individuals with Disabilities in Emergency Preparedness.
This Executive Order sets forth the role of the federal government in effectively tackling these issues in a coordinated fashion, and creates an Interagency Council to facilitate cooperation among federal, state, local and tribal governments, private organizations and individuals in the implementation of emergency preparedness plans as they relate to individuals with disabilities.
The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) assumed a leadership role on the Interagency Coordinating Council as chair of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness in the Workplace. The subcommittee has developed Preparing the Workplace for Everyone, a framework of guidelines for federal agencies related to including employees and visitors with disabilities in emergency plans.
ODEP has been working diligently to facilitate change in the area of workplace emergency preparedness during the past several years. In December 2003, ODEP convened the first-ever Seminar of Exchange for federal managers and issued a subsequent Summary Report.
These activities, in addition to technical assistance available through ODEP's Job Accommodation Network (JAN), other publications, and the many resources on DisabilityInfo.gov, have enabled ODEP to assume a lead role in ensuring emergency preparedness efforts fully consider and include individuals with disabilities.