As the City honors the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Mayor Richard M. Daley today announced the City’s new Voluntary Emergency Assistance Registry for People with Disabilities and Seniors.
He encouraged Chicagoans with disabilities to sign up for the registry, which is a critical component of the City’s comprehensive emergency preparedness initiatives for people with disabilities.
“Events such as the attacks of the world Trade Center and Hurricane Katrina brought into focus the importance of taking into account the needs of all persons, including those with disabilities, in preparing for and responding to disasters and emergencies,” Mayor Daley said.
“It is so important for our police and fire personnel to have accurate information to better assist people in emergencies based on their needs,” he said. “I urge people with disabilities to sign-up for the Voluntary Emergency Assistance Registry as soon as possible.”
The registry was created to provide first responders and other emergency personnel with important information about the type of assistance individuals with disabilities and seniors would need in an emergency.
Mayor Daley also noted that the State’s recent passage of the Good Samaritan Act amendment, which was initially proposed by the City, exempts from civil liabilities individuals who provide voluntary assistance to people with the disabilities and others in the evacuation of a building during an emergency.
Mayor Daley also highlighted many of the City’s past accomplishments and ongoing accessibility initiatives to make Chicago the most accessible city in the nation.
In 1990, he established in the first cabinet-level Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, which is still the largest such department in the U.S.
Since that time, Chicago has been recognized for its work to reduce barriers to employment, housing, education, communication, recreation and access to public services.
Under Mayor Daley, the City has increased the accessibility of its schools, streets, sidewalks, technology, public accommodations and public transportation.
“As we commemorate such an important milestone for the disability community, the City’s new Registry underscores our promise to uphold the tenets of the Americans with Disabilities Act by ensuring that people with disabilities are included in our emergency preparedness plans,” said Commissioner Karen Tamley of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.
In recent years, the National Organization on Disability selected the city as one of its “Accessible America” award winners, recognizing Chicago as a national model for its focus on disability issues.
Mayor Daley also noted recent disability-related services, including the new disability awareness program at Chicago’s airports and the Chicago Fire Department’s new breathing apparatus for service animals whose lung capacity had been impaired due to fire or smoke inhalation.
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