Webinar on Best Practices for Community Emergency Response Team Participants

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Division is hosting a webinar that focuses on practices that will help ensure a positive and accessible experience for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) participants with disabilities and others with access and functional needs on July 15, 2015 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm EDT. Guest speakers include: Gay Jones, FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC); Kathryn Gerk, Emergency Services Manager, Richmond, CA Fire Department; and Jennifer Fales, Emergency Management Coordinator, Kansas City, MO Office of Emergency Management. Speakers will share their insights and advice on how to engage and include individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs in CERT training and activities, lessons they’ve learned from their experiences, and how their efforts have benefitted their programs and communities. Register now.

Online Course on Emergency Management and People with Disabilities

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Department for Homeland Security has developed an on-line course designed to raise awareness among disaster staff of the need for full inclusion of people with disabilities in disaster operations.  The interactive course, entitled “Including People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs in Disaster Operations,” provides an overview of disabilities and access and functional needs and explains how disaster staff can apply inclusive practices in their disaster assignments.

FEMA hiring Regional Disability Integration Specialists

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Department of Homeland Security announced that it was hiring Regional Disability Integration Specialists in each of its 10 regional offices. Advocates have urged FEMA to put disability specialists in the regions to help ensure that the needs of individuals with disabilities are addressed during disaster planning, response, and recovery efforts.

The Department of Health and Human Services Offering Relief to States Hit by Storms

The Department of Health and Human Services is offering relief to the states hard hit by the recent tornadoes and storms. In a letter to Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee, Secretary Sebelius outlines ways states can immediately expand access to health care by providing temporary increases in Medicaid income eligibility limits and removing resource tests.  States can also allow residents who may have lost documents in the storm to certify their income and residency, and can delay the process of re-determining whether an individual remains eligible for Medicaid.  The Secretary assured the affected states that HHS would act quickly to approve any needed state plan changes or waivers.

Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has sent four Regional Disability Integration Specialists to Region IV to assist in those states impacted by the storms.

White House event to highlight partnership with disability community

On March 11 the White House and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will host an event to demonstrate the Obama administration’s commitment to emergency preparedness for people with disabilities. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and the Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security on the National Security Staff, Heidi Avery, will be in attendance. During the event, among other activities, FEMA and the National Disability Rights Network will sign a Memorandum of Understanding describing how they will work together.

FEMA seeking public comments on its national housing strategy

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Department of Homeland Security established a National Disaster Housing Task Force (NDHTF) to develop a strategy that would help emergency managers understand what housing assistance is available from the federal government and how to access that assistance following a disaster. The NDHTF has released a draft copy of its strategy, called National Disaster Housing Task Force Concept of Operations. FEMA is seeking public comment on the strategy. Comments are due January 11, 2011.