Lessons learned from the world trade center disaster: Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities in New York September 2004 contents


A Guide For People With Disabilities and Other Activity Limitations,” 2002



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A Guide For People With Disabilities and Other Activity Limitations,” 2002.

One man’s final image as he left the 80th floor and made it to safety was that of a room full of people using wheelchairs and walkers waiting to be rescued by the firefighters who were coming up the stairs. They all perished as the building collapsed shortly after.
The Day the World Changed,” by Angela Miele Melledy, ABLE, October 2001.



  1. Security measures create barriers for people with disabilities.




  • Blocking areas off can keep people with disabilities from traveling through or around an area.

  • During searches of people with disabilities at airports, upon entry into buildings, and elsewhere, security staff often do not realize that such individuals may have unfamiliar objects among their assistive equipment, that standing up for a wand examination can be difficult, and that some metal detected on their persons may be part of a prosthesis or medical device that cannot be removed.

  • People with medical conditions may need to carry needles for insulin injections, scissors for changing bandages, or other items not usually permitted in shelters. To preserve their safety, these individuals must not be separated from their service animals or from assistive equipment.

  • People who have communication impairments or cognitive disabilities can be seen as threatening or uncooperative by untrained security personnel. In turn, guards demanding identification or explanations can intimidate and discourage people with post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic mental illness, mental retardation, or communication impairments.



Security personnel at airports and other highly secure locations should be aware of people with hearing loss when they do not respond to all the questions and when they carry items such as pagers, hearing aids, TTYs or cochlear implant processors. There was an incident when a plane was diverted because a deaf passenger went to the bathroom not knowing he was supposed to stay seated.
Lessons Learned from September 11”



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