Emergency preparedness is an essential part of living for any individual or family. For those with intellectual disabilities, their families, or those providing support, however, emergency preparedness may require more specific plans of support. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a number of resources to prepare and support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities before, during, and after natural disasters. Of key importance is the implementation of self-determination practices in this area. One example of this implementation is the “Feeling Safe, Being Safe” training curriculum through which individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have become advocates and trainers in emergency preparedness.
Marcie Roth was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington, DC in June 2009. She serves as Senior Advisor to Administrator Fugate and Director of the FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination, leading the national transformation towards integrating the access and functional needs of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of whole community emergency and disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. Ms. Roth also leads the work of the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities which is Chaired by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. Ms. Roth joined FEMA after serving as President and CEO of Global Disability Solutions Group, leading national and international initiatives with a focus on emergency management and disability issues. Over the past 20 years she held senior leadership positions with the National Coalition for Disability Rights, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, National Council on Independent Living and TASH.
Dawn Skaggs is the Principle Investigator for the Hawai`i Emergency Preparedness System of Support and the Project Coordinator for the Hawaii Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Division Emergency Preparedness and Consumer Directed Training Projects at the Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawai`i at Manoa. In these capacities she developed and leads a cross discipline, multi-agency council of state, county and local organizations and stakeholders to establish and execute best practices for including individuals with disabilities as leaders in the planning, preparation, and response activities for various emergencies. She has been instrumental in identifying emerging best practices throughout the country; applying culturally competent adaptations that make resources and information meaningful and relevant and expanding the emergency preparedness resources and opportunities for individuals and agencies in Hawaii.