ADA National Network Webinar Series:
Emergency Management and Preparedness
Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities
Emergency Management webinar series logo

Schedule 2018-19

These 90 minute webinars are delivered by the Pacific ADA Center using the Blackboard Collaborate webinar platform. All sessions will be captioned, recorded and archived.

This program is delivered via both webinar platform and via telephone (additional charges may apply). Real-time captioning is available via the webinar platform.

Webinars begin at ET: 2.30pm, CT: 1.30pm, MT:12.30pm, PT:11.30am, Hawaii: 9.30am during mainland Standard Time; 8.30am during mainland Daylight Savings Time

ADA National Network Learning Session: We All Want Disability Inclusion in Emergency Management - New Research on What is Actually Happening

11th April, 2019

Register here to attend this webinar.

This webinar will review findings from new research conducted by New York University and the Pacific ADA Center on what local emergency managers in federal region 9 say they have done and can do to include people with disabilities in emergency planning, response, recovery, and mitigation. Crucial information about disability inclusion in emergency management and the structural needs of local offices to achieve this was discovered.

Learning objectives:

  • Name three key responsibilities of Offices of Emergency management to ensure access to people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs?
  • Discuss the role that ADA coordinators can play with respect to ensuring Offices of Emergency Management meet the ADA requirements with respect to disaster preparedness and response.


Robyn Gershon is a Clinical Professor and researcher at the College of Global Public Health at NYU. Previously she served a Professor at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health and at University of California, San Francisco, with an Adjunct Professorship at UC Berkeley, School of Public Health. She developed and teaches three asynchronous on-line disaster courses, the most recent is on Healthcare Disaster Management.

Dr. Gershon's research focuses on barriers and facilitators to disaster preparedness - especially with respect to vulnerable populations and essential workers- including the health care and public health workforce. Dr. Gershon's research is designed to inform policy and practice, as exemplified by her landmark "World Trade Center Evacuation Study," which helped lead to the first changes in the New York City high rise fire safety codes in more than 30 years. One of her most recent studies: "Mass Fatality Preparedness in the US", was the first national study on the operational capabilities and readiness for the management of mass fatalities within the US. Along with her colleague, Lewis Kraus of the Pacific ADA, she conducted a large national study on disaster preparedness for people with disabilities. They are currently conducting a study to determine the degree to which the needs of people with disabilities are addressed in local emergency management (FEMA Region 9) disaster planning and response activities - the topic of today's session. Dr. Gershon has published more than 125 peer review articles on her research.

ADA National Network Learning Session: Fitting Accessibility into the Design and Construction Standards of Storm Shelters.

9th May, 2019

The ICC 500 is a standard for the design and construction of storm shelters for protection from tornados and hurricanes. This course will review where storm shelters are required by the International building codes. There will also be an overview of the technical, or the how to, requirements in the ICC 500, including access for persons with disabilities. The needs of the type of shelter differ because of the differences between tornadoes and hurricanes. Some of the biggest differences is the amount of warning time to get to a shelter, the time the occupants will stay in the shelter and the differences in the forces from the wind and debris on the shelter. This class will explain those differences and the why behind the requirements.

Learning objectives:

  • Identify where storm shelters are required in the codes.
  • Determine the extent to which storm shelter standard (ICC 500) provisions apply for required and non-required storm shelters
  • Have a general understanding of scoping (where) and technical (how) requirements for tornado and hurricane storm shelters


Kimberly Paarlberg is a Senior Staff Architect in Technical Services with the International Code Council (ICC). Her experience with ICC includes work in the plan review and code development departments with responsibilities for code development, providing code interpretations, instructing technical seminars and authoring and reviewing instruction materials, code commentary and publication articles. Kimberly serves as code development secretary for the IBC Means of Egress/Accessibility and IBC and IRC Structural committees. She is ICC representative for development of the referenced technical standard, ICC/ANSI A117.1 "Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities." She is also secretariat for the ICC 500 - Design and Construction of Storm Shelters.

Before joining ICC, Kimberly worked as a structural engineer and architect. Kim is a licensed architect in Illinois and holds an Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner certification. She is also a member of her county Civil Emergency Response Team (CERT), and has completed several FEMA classes.