Secretary Ridge Asks People With Disabilities To Get Involved In
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 23, 2004
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA--Tom Ridge, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, encouraged people with disabilities Wednesday to become actively involved in efforts to prepare their neighborhoods, homes and workplaces to be ready to respond to emergencies.
Ridge was keynote speaker at the nation's first Conference on Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities.
"Its important to remind ourselves that people with disabilities are not passive consumers of help, but active and innovative problem solvers," Ridge told attendees at the conference, organized by National Capital Region with support of DHS and the National Organization on Disability.
"While all Americans face difficulties during emergencies, people with disabilities and their families face a number of unique and difficult challenges," he said.
"The problem that this population group face shed a great deal of light on many related difficulties. But more importantly, the solutions that people with disabilities propose can help so many others. The energy and determination and skills that people with disabilities bring to these issues are a huge asset to our nation's broader emergency preparedness effort."
Ridge pointed out that earlier this summer, President Bush signed an Executive Order ensuring that people with disabilities are included in the emergency planning process, along with an Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and People with Disabilities, which Ridge's department is chairing.
"It is a sweeping and important statement of the official policy of the federal government, and one that I hope that all who work in the emergency preparedness field will take seriously," he explained.
The three-day conference features other federal and state speakers, including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response Michael D. Brown, who oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Full House, Inspiring Keynote from Ridge, and Pledges to Work Together (National Organization on Disability)
Remarks by Tom Ridge at Conference on Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities (Dept. of Homeland Security)