County Comment/Area Conference On Emergency Preparedness For People With Disabilities Held

by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

As part of Disabilities Awareness Month activities in Washington County, the Maryland Department of Disabilities held the Western Maryland Conference on Emergency Preparedness and Response for Individuals with Disabilities on October 21st at Robinwood Medical Center. Conference sponsorship and planning was assisted by the Washington County Disabilities Advisory Committee (DAC).
Verna Brown, Emergency Management Administrator for Washington County, and Peggy Martin, Chair, Washington County DAC served as 2 of 12 facilitators for the day long event.
Presenters included JoAnne Knapp, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the Department of Disabilities, Carl Cameron, President of the Disabilities Preparedness Center in Washington D.C., Brenda Kelley-Frey, Director of Maryland Relay, Brad Frantz, Garrett County Office of Emergency Management, and Jack Markey, Director of the Frederick County Office of Emergency Management.
Attendance was open to people with disabilities, service providers, first responders, government officials and the public. About 75 people participated in the event. Local and regional representatives assessed needs, established channels of communication, identified challenges and opportunities, and defined steps for cooperation.
The conference was another is the series of cooperative endeavors between the Washington County Emergency Management Department and the DAC, to better prepare first responders and consumers with disabilities to deal with a variety of emergency situations.