OCR Guidance Addresses Equal Access to Emergency Services During Super Typhoon Yutu

PUBLISHED: Oct 30, 2018
Relevant to: All Healthcare Organizations

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (HHS) has declared a public health emergency in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory, due to damage from Super Typhoon Yutu. The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and its federal partners are recommending that emergency responders and officials consider adopting, as circumstances and resources allow, the following practices to help make sure all segments of the community are served:

  • Employing qualified interpreter services to assist individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing during evacuation, response, and recovery activities;
  • Making emergency messaging available in languages prevalent in the affected area(s) and in multiple formats, such as audio, large print, and captioning and ensuring that websites providing disaster-related information are accessible;
  • Making use of multiple outlets and resources for messaging to reach individuals with disabilities, individuals with limited English proficiency, and members of diverse faith communities;
  • Considering the needs of individuals with mobility impairments and individuals with assistive devices or durable medical equipment in providing transportation for evacuation;
  • Identifying and publicizing accessible sheltering facilities that include accessible features, such as bathing, toileting, eating facilities, and bedding;
  • Avoiding separating people from their sources of support, such as service animals, durable medical equipment, caregivers, medication, and supplies; and
  • Stocking shelters with items that will help people to maintain independence, such as hearing aid batteries, canes, and walkers.

Being mindful of all segments of the community and taking reasonable steps to provide an equal opportunity to benefit from emergency response efforts will help ensure that the disaster management in all areas affected by Super Typhoon Yutu is successful.

Follow the link below for more information regarding how Federal civil rights laws apply in an emergency.

Included with today’s notice are policies related to interpreter services.

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