Sunday, August 28, 2011

In NY City, most hurricane evacuation shelters for Hurricane Irene inaccessible

From Susan Dooha, Executive Director of Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York, (CIDNY). Pictured is a wheelchair ramp to a locked door at a hurricane evacuation shelter. Photo by Susan Dooha.

From her visit to NYC hurricane evacuation shelters morning of August 27: "not one is accessible for wheelchairs or scooters--no ramps, locked doors at top of ramps, no signage, volunteers not aware and not prepped, no accessible cots (also where cots are -- up stairs), no accessible bathrooms or port-a-potties."

From her afternoon visit August 27: "very dangerous ramps at Seward Park HS (plywood soaked, no rails, impossible angles, platform between two ramps not big enough, etc.)--shelter for Battery Park and Lower East Side folks. They say bathroom accessible. No accessible cots. PWD there."

From her evening visit August 27 to NYC shelters: "Saw 6 shelters--ramps to locked doors, interior stairs to food areas, elevators to food areas (power outage issue), inaccessible bathrooms, lack of appropriate signage, no accessible cots, dangerous ramps to petite platforms (would have to back up very steep ramp to get door open--locked of course), plywood ramp soaked with rain with no rails or edges, heard of someone who attempted entry at a shelter in chair and was refused, heard about EMTs carrying people up stairs in chairs."