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Maryland Department of Disabilities
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Newsletter                                                                                 September, 2017
Cecilia in black dress with guide dog
Interview: Maryland Department of Disabilities Director of Emergency Preparedness

Recent weather events have many Marylanders considering their own emergency plans and ensuring they are prepared during extraordinary circumstances.  September is also emergency preparedness month emphasizing the importance for all Marylanders to have a plan. The Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) is fortunate to have a fully dedicated Emergency Preparedness Director ensuring the needs of residents with disabilities are considered at every step of the emergency planning process.  We sat down with Emergency Preparedness Director, Cecilia Warren, to ask a few questions about her position and her advice for Maryland residents.
              
What do you find to be the most interesting part of your work with MDOD?
The most interesting part of my work at MDOD is finding solutions that meet the needs of our stakeholders; including people with disabilities, emergency managers, and regional partners. Finding solutions and preparing for disasters is a process that is never closed. Policies and practices must incorporate new bodies of knowledge and lessons learned into the emergency management cycle. I enjoy collaborating with subject matter experts in multi-disciplinary teams. I am fortunate to partner with an enthusiastic and dedicated group of specialists at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.
 
If someone wants to be better prepared but doesn't know where to start, what do you suggest as a first step?
Fortunately, several resources have emerged to help individuals with disabilities with preparedness planning. It is always wise to start with the local jurisdiction to see if they have developed preparedness information for the community. The local jurisdiction's Office of Emergency Management will be familiar with the threats and hazards that are known to exist in the community. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has a wealth of preparedness information for residents. Also, some consumer groups within the disability community promote emergency preparedness.
 
Modern disasters can result in a broad range of collateral effects for communities, businesses, and individuals. When planning for a disaster, think about the most likely course of events that will occur. For example, during a severe weather event, a home could experience the loss of electricity, which could lead to power failure. A power failure could result in the inability to prepare food, receive weather alerts, and use medical devices. Preparedness involves analyzing the disaster, in advance, and determining how to mitigate the impact. As emergency managers, we want individuals and communities to build resilience. 
                    
DSP Week proclamation with official seal
Governor Hogan Issues Proclamation for Direct Support Professionals Week

Governor Hogan issued a Proclamation declaring September 10th through 16th Direct Support Professional Recognition Week in Maryland. Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are vital to the life experiences of many people with disabilities in our state.  From employment support to community living assistance, DSPs can be the key difference between community participation and isolation for some with disabilities. 
 
The Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) and the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) joined others throughout the United States in marking the importance of DSP Recognition Week. MDOD and DDA plan to travel the state thanking Direct Support Professionals for their dedication and expertise throughout September and early October. The department received over one hundred nominations from community advocates, service providers and family members nominating a deserving DSP for recognition.  We will be honoring many with Governor's Citations and Honorable Mention Awards for their work changing Maryland for the better.  Follow the department on social media to keep up with us as we travel the state recognizing this important workforce.
 
ADA Anniversary in Photos
 
ADA 27 disAbility History Tour in Pictures 
  
In celebration of the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Maryland Department of Disabilities hosted a traveling disAbility History Tour throughout Maryland during July and August of 2017.   Governor Hogan kicked off the tour with a reception at the Lowe House Office Building in Annapolis on August 4th. The display, on loan from the Museum of disAbility History, also stopped in every region of Maryland including Baltimore, Annapolis, Hagerstown, Waldorf, and Chestertown.
 
The four panel display addresses the history of self advocacy in the disability community prior to and following the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.  The Maryland Department of Disabilities also added a fifth display addressing the history of the disability community in Maryland which was designed by the Maryland Association of Centers for Independent Living.  
 
Please enjoy the history tour summary in pictures at the above link.  The photos with captions and searchable text can also be accessed at a separate link below.  Thank you to the Museum of disAbility History, our hosts, and sponsors for supporting the tour and recognizing the important contributions of the disability community to our shared history as Marylanders.  
   
In the next issue. . .

Do not miss the October extended edition of the Maryland Department of Disabilites Newsletter highlighting Disability Employment Awareness month and how advocates, employers, and State agencies are partnering to change Maryland for the better by increasing employment opportunities for all of our state residents.
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