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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

REAADI for Disasters Act and DRMA Reintroduced Today: Join Us for a Stakeholder Meeting Next Week!

NCIL is excited by yesterday’s reintroduction of the REAADI for Disasters Act (S. 2658) and DRMA (S. 2646), and we invite you to join us for a Stakeholder Meeting next week!

The Real Emergency Access for Aging and Disability Inclusion (REAADI) for Disasters Act and Disaster Relief Medicaid Act (DRMA) are two essential bills that will help address and dismantle the barriers disabled people face before, during, and after disasters. The REAADI for Disasters Act will help ensure the diverse voices of disabled people and older adults are included in disaster preparation, response, recovery, and mitigation. It will ensure states and localities can better include and support disabled residents through the creation of a national network of training and technical assistance centers. It will require a review of spending to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and a review of the extent to which disabled people’s civil rights are upheld during and after disasters. It will also recognize and strengthen the role Centers for Independent Living (CILs) play in local disaster response. DRMA will help ensure disabled people who are forced to move out of state because of disasters are able to keep their Medicaid services. DRMA would provide states with resources and supports to enable this change, including a time-limited increased FMAP.

NCIL and our allies have worked to address the disaster-related needs of disabled people for years. Over 15 years ago, NCIL’s Emergency Preparedness Task Force (now a permanent NCIL Subcommittee) was the first formal disability community effort to address this issue. Several years later, NCIL entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and later entered into an MOU with the American Red Cross (ARC). When they failed to hold up their end of the bargains, NCIL canceled the American Red Cross MOU and allowed the FEMA MOU to expire – but we have never let up the pressure on either of them to meet their obligations to our community.

Additionally, NCIL entered into an MOU with Portlight Strategies, which was instrumental in supporting disaster-impacted CILs and the people and communities they support. That partnership has continued, with NCIL hosting a full-time Portlight Fellow in 2019 to build a political and community support for the REAADI for Disasters Act and DRMA. NCIL has also worked closely with the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies as they’ve led drafting of this critical legislation.

Now, we need all hands on deck to get these bills passed. Disabled people and older adults are two to four times more likely to die or be seriously injured during disasters. This is the direct result of discrimination and exclusion from disaster planning, response, and recovery efforts. We need the REAADI for Disasters Act and DRMA.

Join A Stakeholder Meeting!

Join NCIL, Congressional representatives, and invited guests to celebrate the reintroductions of the REAADI for Disasters Act and DRMA and learn how you can take action to get the REAADI for Disasters Act and DRMA passed into law! There will be exciting speakers followed by an opportunity for questions from attendees. We will also release a REAADI for Disasters Act and DRMA toolkit next week to coincide with the Stakeholder Meetings.

NCIL will host two Stakeholder Meetings to accommodate multiple time zones. The same information will be presented on both calls.

Stakeholder Meeting 1

When: Tuesday, August 10, 11am – 12pm Eastern

Register for this call

Stakeholder Meeting 2

When: Thursday, August 12, 3pm – 4pm Eastern

Register for this call

Both meetings will be held as Zoom webinars. ASL interpreting will be provided. CART captioning will be available in the Zoom platform and at a separate Streamtext link. Please email [email protected] if you have any questions or need any other accommodations. Please submit requests for other accommodations at least 24 hours before the event.


  1. Richard Skaff says

    Hello. My name is Richard Skaff. I’m the Executive Director of a 501C3 non-profit organization called Designing Accessible Communities.
    As a person with a disability (T12/L1 parapleagia), I became focused on disasters and the issues they raise for people with disabilities while working for the City of San Francisco as a Chief Building Official. In 1989, after being hired in that position, I was at work at 5:05pm when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck San Francisco.
    For the next 2-3 .months, I manages the City’s 20 Building Inspectors, having them first check hospitals and clinics, then City buildings, and finally all other buildings to determine whether the buildings were safe to enter, or not.
    That was the event that triggered my concern for preparedness for emergencies and disasters.
    Sometime later, after Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana, the Governor of Louisiana asked me to help with training Architects about accessibility so as the effected cities started rebuilding, they would be accessible for everyone.
    Then, working with NFPA staff out of their Boston headquarters shortly after 9/11, I was asked to do a training for U.S state and Canadian Firemarshals about emergency planning, as well as evacuation equipment like evacuation chairs and fire alarm systems. At the end of my training, I had a drawing for the attendees of the training.
    I would be giving away a Garaventa evacuation chair to one of the Firemarshal attendees. We’ll, the winner of the drawing was the Firemarshal from New York!
    Since then, I have started two large fire department-based Community Emergency Response Team organizations, crested to train local residents about immediate actions (minimal search and rescue, stopping small fires, emergency medical help, etc.) they can take after a disaster to help themselves and their neighbors.
    And now, for the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve been working with the California Public Utilities Commission in an effort to get real mitigation measures put in place to protect vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities when their electric utility de-energizes their electric grid in an effort to not cause any more wildfires.

    I 2ould be very interested in working on real, tangible outcomes that would help assure the safety of vulnerable seniors (I’m now 77) and people with disabilities during emergencies/disasters.
    I hope to hear from you.