Office of the Governor - Greg Abbott

Disabilities Header

Getting Real Emergency Management Conference 2011
(Page 2 of 2)

Table of Contents

Planning Tools
(Matherly)

This presentation describes a toolkit to be used by agencies to establish direct, credible communication with diverse populations—especially those most vulnerable in emergencies. The toolkit builds a community outreach information network (COIN), an approach that has been used successfully in public health, is cited in federal guidance, and has been used to customize a guide and toolkit for transportation and emergency managers. This presentation reflects recent research by the presenters in emergency planning efforts nationwide that identify vulnerable populations’ “trusted resources,” agencies and influencers they consider pivotal to decision-making in emergencies. The approach provides specific ways, including templates and scripts, for emergency management professionals to ensure that people who are too often excluded from community planning processes can participate fully. Putting the approach into practice guarantees that every person in a community can get the emergency information he or she needs to prepare, respond, and recover.

Preparing Together—A Partnership to Prepare Seniors and Individuals with Functional and Access Needs
(Orfitelli)

Preparing Together is a volunteer-driven initiative designed to help senior citizens and people with disabilities develop a personalized preparedness plan. Studies clearly indicate that many seniors, as well as people with functional and access needs, make up a large part of the “at risk population” that is most affected by disasters. Preparing Together addresses many of the challenges that put people at risk. This workshop explains how Preparing Together cultivates and trains volunteers to reach out to vulnerable populations through church groups, service clubs, and community groups. At the heart of the matter is the identification of those who need assistance, and assessing what level of assistance will take place. Preparing Together was designed as a partnership between volunteer and participant. A specific preparedness tool called the Preparing Together Planning Tool is used to organize all of the important information and to provide guidance in preparing for emergencies of all types. In this presentation, an overview of the role of the volunteer is discussed.

Reflecting on the Joy, Power and Magic of Disaster Preparedness
(Ruge)

How to prepare for emergencies is embarrassingly simple. We have excellent preparedness models. We all know what we need to do to be prepared, but too few of us take the time to prepare. This presentation discusses possible reasons WHY we don’t prepare, and the tremendous opportunities and benefits of mounting a cultural shift from dependency on others to self-sufficiency and resiliency. There have been many cultural shifts in our lifetime from the use of seatbelts to prosecuting drunk drivers. The Independent Living movement has been one of the most important and significant ongoing cultural shifts benefiting not only those with access and functional needs, but our entire population. The presenter discusses what he calls The ROSE Initiative, which is designed to awaken an international cultural shift from dependency on others to individual, communal, and planetary self-sufficiency in the event of disasters. The presenter discusses why we all are participating in this undertaking and the key elements to remember in our future travels together including (1) Keep ALL the Principles of Independent Living Alive; (2) Keep It Simple; (3) Effortless and Fun; (4) Rewiring our Neurotransmitters; (5) Elephants, Dolphins and Moken Sea Gypsies; and (6) Be the 100th Monkey.

**Video unavailable on FEMA website**

Responding to Emergencies with Youth: the Wisconsin Experience
(Menard-Muller and Students)

The Wisconsin Responding to Emergencies and Disasters with Youth (READY) Camp initiative equips young people with the skills to prevent injuries, identify vulnerable situations, build leadership, and respond to emergencies and disasters until additional help arrives. Through activity-based learning and challenges, students ages 13 to 18 build confidence and get training and certifications that make them leaders when they return to their schools and communities. READY Camp, which is held annually, includes teens with cognitive, learning, and mobility issues as participants, and all are educated about the access issues of those with disabilities. During the 2011 camp, a teen with a diagnosis of autism successfully completed the week of activities. READY youth are involved in activities and service-learning projects that address the inclusion, integration, dignity, independence, accessibility and self-determination for all people. Maggie Menard-Mueller, a full-time junior-high teacher, has been a McPherson College instructor on accommodating disability differences in the classroom. She and three of her students share ways their school’s School Emergency Response Team has grown over the past six years to become a vital component of their school’s safety plan. In April 2011, Menard-Mueller integrated FEMA’s STEP program through a highly successful peer-to-peer education program that included students with cognitive, behavioral, and mobility issues acting both as instructors and students.

San Diego County’s Promising Practices
(Richardson)

Emergency Managers strive to identify appropriate “Subject Matter Experts.” For example, we would never ask law enforcement to put out a wildfire. Therefore, in San Diego County, we have created an Access and Functional Needs (AFN) Workgroup to aid in disaster planning efforts as well as complete additional tasks. These include the review of the County’s Emergency Operations Plan, and the development of a Resource Guide to assist AFN populations before, during, and after disasters. Because of the different perspectives each department brings, AFN planning is a collaborative effort between the Department of Public Health, Aging and Independence Services, and the Office of Emergency Services San Diego County. We are also partnering with private agencies to increase the services we can provide to the AFN populations including the Accessible Alert San Diego mass notification system and contracts with two of the county’s mass transit agencies. San Diego County, by no means, has a solution to everything that may occur during a disaster for everyone. However, we are working diligently to try to find solutions in order to increase the level of preparedness and resiliency of the whole community.

Sign Language Interpreter Strike Teams
(Pope/Bailey/Kaufman/Schisler)

This presentation discusses a training and education course designed to develop strike teams of sign language interpreters and establishing a “resource typing” that can be incorporated into the National Mutual Aid and Resource Management Initiative. The specific goal of the program is to train and credential sign language interpreters to provide ASL interpreting services to the deaf and hard of hearing community during times of crisis. This resource’s capability is readily defined, and emergency managers will be able to effectively and efficiently request and receive this resource through mutual aid during times of disaster. Too often, government and organizations rely on “volunteer” interpreters, who are found at the last minute—these interpreters are often not qualified or prepared for what they may encounter, and become problematic for first responders in addition to being vulnerable to secondary trauma and PTSD. The immediate availability of strike teams for the deaf and hard of hearing community is analogous to having an access ramp into a building. The secondary and tertiary trauma to the deaf and hard of hearing community is easily rectified by having a trained resource readily available. In addition, the program emphasizes personal preparedness for the interpreter—as many interpreters have deaf family and friends or are deaf themselves, this program assists government with their message of “personal readiness”.

Stair Descent Device Performance: Current Research and Standards Efforts
(Lavender/Hedman)

Stair-descent devices, or evacuation chairs, have received significant attention since the attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001. However, most information on these devices is either anecdotal or in the form of literature provided by the manufacturers. The performance of evacuation chairs is of interest to consumers, emergency planners, life-safety professionals, and building owners and managers. How do these devices really perform? What standards exist that can give people confidence in their purchasing decisions? Project SDD, a 3-year study funded by the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, has begun the research needed in this area, and is examining the demands on the operators of the devices. The project is a collaboration between the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Disability & Human Development and School of Public Health, and the Ohio State University Department of Integrated Systems Engineering. RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, is developing a product standard that will cover performance criteria, test methods, and inspection procedures to help ensure that effective devices are readily available. The presentation summarizes the current status of Project SDD and the RESNA Standards.

Teaching and Empowering Local Communities: Learning How to Include and Respond to People with Disabilities
(Whalen)

THT is an innovative program that has as its ultimate goal proper and progressive municipality response for citizens with disabilities. The program educates participants and provides strategies on how to become active members of their municipalities and have ongoing involvement and input into disability awareness and response issues. Disability-related laws, regulations, and procedures are ignored every day; but through advocacy, this can be prevented in your municipality. The basics of this involve accessibility, hiring practices, employee education, and department-specific understanding and program options (e.g. Police and Emergency services, and Recreation programs). Presence, inclusion, empowerment, and education are the end results of THT.

**Video unavailable on FEMA website**

Team Building and Collaboration in Hawaii
(Jackson)

As the only state comprised of islands, Hawaii has a unique perspective on emergency preparedness and response. There are no bordering states to which people can drive to find refuge or supplies during a disaster. Everything must be brought in by air or ship. Therefore before and after a disaster, people in Hawaii must develop relationships with each other as individuals and agencies to create partnerships and build teams to plan and survive. Resources are pooled and shared in order to survive and rebuild after an emergency or disaster. In the fall of 2005, three agencies (Hawaii Department of Health, State Civil Defense and the Disability and Communication Access Board) collaborated to develop and implement an “Interagency Action Plan for the Emergency Preparedness of Persons with Disabilities and Special Health Needs.” This plan is a road map to guide stakeholders to create emergency preparedness plans and activities that include and support people with disabilities and their families prior to and during an emergency. It is part of our island culture to live and work together as “ohana” or family.

Texas Functional Needs Support Services Toolkit:
Integration, Collaboration and Content (O’Neill)

Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) are the services that enable children and adults who have access and functional needs—who may or may not have disabilities—maintain their health, safety, and independence in a general population shelter. To help sheltering operations (governmental, non-governmental, faith-based, and private) plan for and meet access and functional needs of children and adults during an emergency, the state of Texas has developed the Functional Needs Support Services Toolkit. It is designed for first responders and emergency management professionals who are looking for more information about functional and access needs, including ways to identify and involve leaders in local disability communities. The FNSS Toolkit includes tools to help planners assess existing shelter plans, and resources that can be incorporated directly into them, including operational guidance for communication issues and tools for recovery. The FNSS Toolkit is a living document, and is updated when new information and best practices are available. If you have questions or comments concerning anything contained in the Toolkit, please send them to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The New Disaster Policy Wiki—What It Is and How to Use It
(Smilowitz)

After disasters occur, disability rights organizations, the Government Accountability Office, Congress, Inspectors General, states, FEMA, and many others release policy reports and recommendations, often called “lessons learned.” We know the drill: soon after Anderson Cooper heads home, the political will to address “problems realized” quickly fades. This is why the same recommendations for improvement are often repeated from one disaster to the next. The Disaster Accountability Project created a Disaster Policy Wiki to serve as a clearinghouse for these policy recommendations so that they are not forgotten. This summer, our legal interns added over 1000 policy recommendations into the Wiki and we plan to add many more. If we collectively track the status of these policy recommendations, fewer will be forgotten and together we can advocate for their implementation. Furthermore, disability rights advocates, government and nonprofit employees, and even disaster relief volunteers can share information about the status of these policy recommendations. We all want to see improvements and sometimes change doesn’t happen fast enough. Hopefully this new Disaster Policy Wiki can help move things along by shining some light on the progress of life-and-death policy reforms.

Three R’s and a P
(Allan)

The Disability Policy Consortium (DPC) describes an advocacy approach toward solving perennial problems in emergency management that stem from the lack of a commitment to inclusionary planning. The DPC is currently organizing constituents and using available leverage to create systemic change in Massachusetts. Eastern Massachusetts had a major water crisis in May 2010. This presentation moves from that event through a series of actions and other emergency crises to Hurricane Irene in August of 2011. Participants are also reintroduced to principles of organizing and setting the framework for effective advocacy.

**Video unavailable on FEMA website**

Using the C-MIST Model to Engage Community
(Springer/Hasauer)

In the summer of 2010, under the leadership of Stearns County Emergency Management, five meetings were organized around the C-MIST model of determining access and functional needs. Over 40 agencies and individuals participated in the five meetings in which we asked a handful of questions to learn from the various communities–“what do we need to know about fulfilling community needs during disaster planning, response and recovery?” We had previous annex documents to guide the conversation with what we already knew, but encouraged the participants to help us “dig deeper” into nuances that might not be apparent at the county emergency manager level. This process revealed many new ideas, new partners, and good conversations about managing expectations. Several activities have since been planned and carried out to test this annex including functional and tabletop exercises.

 

Return to Page 1 (or use Table of Contents above to navigate)