More MS news articles for Jan 2002

People with Disabilities Unprepared for Disasters

People With Disabilities Unprepared For Terrorist, Other Crises at Home or at Work, New Poll Finds

11 Dec 11:48
U.S. Newswire

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Three months after terrorist attacks redefined America's agenda, most of the country's 54 million citizens with disabilities do not feel sufficiently prepared for future crises, Harris Interactive survey results released today by The National Organization on Disability (N.O.D.) show. According to the survey:

All these percentages are higher than for those without disabilities, 51 percent of whom report not knowing whom to contact about community emergency plans, 58 percent of whom say plans are not in place for evacuating home, and 44 percent for work.

"These statistics show the country as a whole has some catching up to do to be prepared, but people with disabilities lag behind everyone else. This is a critical discrepancy, because those of us with disabilities must in fact be better prepared so we are not at a disadvantage in an emergency," said N.O.D. President Alan A. Reich.

The Harris Interactive survey - which interviewed 1,011 people, fifteen percent of whom reported having disabilities, by telephone between Nov. 14 and 20 - also found that those with disabilities are far more anxious about their personal safety. Eighteen percent of respondents with disabilities said they are extremely or very anxious, compared with just eight percent of others. Forty-four percent of people with disabilities are at least somewhat anxious, the poll found.

Reich and other N.O.D. representatives met with Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge in November to address the disability community's specific concerns. N.O.D. has urged Ridge, other government officials at the federal, state and local levels, emergency planners, and the disability community to work together to ensure that adequate plans are in place to accommodate people with disabilities in the event of future disasters.

"It is critical that all plans for emergency preparedness consider the special needs of people with disabilities. We strongly advocate that individuals with disabilities themselves be included in the planning process at all levels," said Reich.

This survey is the latest conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of N.O.D. The benchmark N.O.D./Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities has since 1990 identified gaps whereby Americans with disabilities participate at a lower rate than other Americans in such areas as education, employment, access to healthcare and transportation, and participation in political, religious, and community life. N.O.D. brings national attention to these gap areas and works to close them.

The National Organization on Disability, founded in 1982, promotes the full and equal participation and contribution of America's 54 million men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. For more information about N.O.D.'s programs, visit

Harris Interactive (Nasdaq: HPOL) is a worldwide market research and consulting firm, best known for The Harris Poll and its pioneering use of the Internet to conduct scientifically accurate market research. For more information on Harris Interactive, visit

Contact: Brewster Thackeray of the National Organization on
Disability, 202-293-5960;
Web site:

Copyright 2001, U.S. Newswire