A Snapshot of the Available Accessibility Features for People with Physical Disabilities Across Potential Emergency Shelters
Methods: Data on building-related accessibility features among potential emergency shelters (n = 2,645) were extracted from the American Red Cross National Shelter System (NSS). NSS is an active database, in which the data are updated regularly and used to track and report shelter information. Our analysis included the following specific domains: parking, entrance, ramp, restroom, shower, and eating areas.
Results: Our preliminary results suggest that many accessibility features are not widely available among the buildings and structures we examined. For example, a small proportion have doorways (37%) and ramps (40%) complying with the ADA standards. Restrooms are not wide enough for wheelchair users (72%) and are missing appropriate grab bars (65%). Only 15% have an accessible shower stall. Serving lines or counters in the eating area are too high for wheelchair users in 75% of shelters.
Conclusion: There is a need to increase accessible features available in shelters when planning for a disaster.
Learning Areas:Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
List two examples of accessibility features that are less common in emergency shelters. Identify resources on temporary modification of shelters.
Keyword(s): Emergency Preparedness, Accessibility
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am master's student in the Department of Disability and Human Development. I took the lead in conducting the analysis of the NSS data for preliminary findings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.