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Organization voices concerns over ADA compliance during storm

Posted: 5:24 PM, Mar 19, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-19 20:26:34-04

COLORADO SPRINGS-  As snow dumped on El Paso County last week with the March Blizzard, concerns mounted for just about everyone.

From people getting stranded in their cars, to thousands losing power- some concerns still remain over emergency response.

Rocky Mountain ADA hosted a seminar Tuesday educating business and government leaders on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.

One of the big concerns for Rocky Mountain ADA was the lack of sign language interpreters at press conferences.

‘It really should be something that’s front of mind and we’re hopeful that by educating our community, something like this won’t slip through the cracks again,’ said Dana Barton, Director of Rocky Mountain ADA.

The group says it is a requirement to have interpreters.

‘There’s definitely not enough conversation within the community about what ADA compliance means, and unfortunately I think people are afraid of it,’ Barton said.

Colorado Springs city council members were present at an ADA seminar in Colorado Springs Tuesday, where Rocky Mountain ADA outlined compliance for ADA.

News 5 reached out to the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management, to ask about not having sign language interpreters, they sent the following statement.

The Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management works diligently to reach its entire community during an emergency or significant weather event and we work closely with our response partners to communicate with our access functional needs community.

Determining whether or not to utilize an American Sign Language interpreter in support of a media event was a safety issue. In this instance, it was not reasonable or safe to bring in an interpreter on such short notice. We must balance our need to quickly share information with the public with the safety of people we are asking to provide it. We will continue to make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations for an interpreter, but we must also consider the safety of both the public and those who are responding to an event.

A city spokesperson also tells News 5, there is a contract with sign language interpreters, and they often do bring them in- a recent example being the August hail storm.