ADA National Network/FEMA Webinar Series: Emergency Management and Preparedness-Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

Schedule 2015-16

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: 8.30am.

ADA National Network Learning Session: Disaster Behavioral Health and People With Access and Functional Needs: Resources from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

11th August, 2016

Registration for this webinar is not yet open.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities, including throughout all phases of the disaster cycle. When natural and human-caused disasters occur, including incidents of mass violence such as terrorism and shootings, survivors, loved ones of victims, and responders are all at risk for emotional distress or other mental health concerns. Persons with physical and mental health disabilities, the deaf and hard of hearing, those with visual impairments and many others have unique access and functional needs that must be addressed as a part of a 'whole community' approach to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and this includes incorporating available and accessible behavioral health resources into emergency management operations. Today's session will provide an introduction to disaster behavioral health and overview of resources from SAMHSA that emergency managers, providers, and the public at large can utilize year-round, during and immediately following disaster events, and during long term recovery.

Learning objectives:

  • Educate stakeholders on core principles of disaster behavioral health, including distress risk factors and warning signs inclusive of and unique to people with access and functional needs.
  • Learn how SAMHSA's disaster behavioral health resources, including its Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series and Disaster Distress Helpline program, can provide support to stakeholders and the public at large throughout all phases of natural and human-caused disasters .
  • Learn how disaster behavioral health is addressed in FEMA's Emergency Support Functions and National Disaster Recovery Framework.
  • Become familiar with additional local/state resources in disaster behavioral health.
  • Increase awareness of the importance of including disaster behavioral health resources into emergency management planning and other preparedness activities.
  • Establish contacts for stakeholders with SAMHSA and its disaster behavioral health programs regarding ongoing outreach and communications for coordinating resources throughout all phases of the disaster cycle.


CDR Jamie Seligman, LMSW-C, BCD, is a project officer with Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) in the Emergency Mental Health and Traumatic Stress Services Branch (EMHTSSB). In his current role, he monitors crisis counseling grants to states with presidentially-declared disasters and provides technical assistance to grantees and applicants. He is also the project officer for the Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series (DBHIS), an online virtual disaster resource center with downloadable publications. CDR Seligman spearheaded the development and creation of the SAMHSA Disaster Kit; he also provided oversight and subject matter expertise in the development and launch of SAMHSA's Disaster App. CDR Seligman oversees the Disaster Distress Helpline, which is the first national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. He has been deployed to numerous disaster settings, serving as a federal responder (mental health professional) with United States Public Health Service (USPHS). His deployments include: Ft. Myers, FL (Hurricane Charley), New Orleans (Hurricane Katrina), Asia (tsunami), South Dakota (suicide cluster), American Samoa (tsunami), Gulf Coast (Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill) and Liberia (Ebola).

Christian Burgess, MSW, is Director of the Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH), a program of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration administered by Link2Health Solutions (L2HS), a subsidiary of the not-for-profit Mental Health Association of New York City. L2HS also administers the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for SAMHSA, of which the DDH is considered a sub-network. Christian serves on the National VOAD Emotional and Spiritual Care Committee (ESCC) and Health Committee, and co-chaired the NYC VOAD ESCC from 2013-2014. Christian served as Training Coordinator for the Oil Spill Distress Helpline from 2010-2011, also administered by L2HS for SAMHSA, before becoming the DDH Director in 2012 when that program was launched. Prior to L2HS, Christian worked for over 10 years in youth violence prevention and trauma intervention, including as Director of School Programs at Safe Horizon, one of the nation's largest service providers for victims of crime.

FEMA Promising Practices: Fire preparedness and Post-Disaster Accessibility Issues in the Home

8th September, 2016

This webinar will have two presentations that look at preparedness and accessibility issues in the home. Home Fire Safety Solutions for People with Disabilities installs smoke alarms, alert devices and delivers home fire safety educational messages that meet the needs of people with disabilities in Oklahoma. The key components of this successful program will be presented by project managers.

Elevations make salient many concerns for accessibility and universal design that compliment current needs of a population that age in place. It becomes a design professional's charge as educator and “expert” to encourage the resident to plan for accessibility for themselves, their visitors, and for any future inhabitants, all over the course of both their lives and the life of the home. The series will address all audiences that play a role in promoting accessibility through the lens of design, from the client to the architect to the local jurisdiction.

Learning objectives:

  • Determine the selection and installation of appropriate smoke alarms and alert devices that meet the needs of people with disabilities according to the National Fire Alarm Code.
  • Describe the components of a successful home visit program to install smoke alarms, alert devices and deliver fire and life safety educational messages to serve people with disabilities.
  • Discuss the value of community partnerships to plan and implement a home fire safety project to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
  • Identify resources available to replicate the Oklahoma program in your location.
  • Provide universal design tenets.
  • Understand, in order to overcome, obstacles to accessibility in a post-disaster environment, including financial, policy, zoning, and building code hindrances.
  • Learn how to communicate effectively with all actors in the accessibility discussion as a design professional with the obligation to advocate for universal design.


Milissa Gofourth is a Program Manager of Oklahoma ABLE Tech and has been with the sponsored program housed at Oklahoma State University, Seretean Wellness Center since 1996. Milissa advocates and promotes public policy that will enable individuals with all types of disabilities of all ages to access and acquire assistive technology. Milissa provides the assistive technology and disability related materials for training and information dissemination for the “Fire Safety Solutions for Oklahomans with Disabilities” project.

Nancy J. Trench is recognized nationally as a leader in fire and life safety education. Mrs. Trench is the Assistant Director for Research for Fire Protection Publications, the publisher of IFSTA training materials, at Oklahoma State University where she has worked for more than 35 years. She is an expert in the design, implementation and evaluation of fire and life safety education programs, including programs for young children and people with disabilities. Mrs. Trench received the second annual Dr. Anne W. Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education from The Home Safety Council in 2008. Nancy is active with Vision 20/20, National Strategies for Fire Loss Prevention.

Brian Baer is a licensed architect with 27 years of experience implementing sustainable, community-aided design solutions for educational, cultural, civic and non-governmental agency projects across the United States. Mr. Baer is a licensed architect in several states and is a LEED accredited professional (awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council) and certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Before forming The Elevated Studio, Inc. and serving as the Executive Director, Mr. Baer was the Regional Program Manager of the New York office of Architecture for Humanity, LLC, an international charity. In that capacity, Mr. Baer did disaster relief and preparedness work and advocacy including managing the organization's New York City office for the regional response to Hurricane Sandy reconstruction throughout the metropolitan New York City region. Mr. Baer has practiced as an architect in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Boston and New York.

Lila Tedesco is an architectural designer in the process of licensure. Over her career, she has integrated a dedication to human rights into design, sustainability, and disaster recovery. She has worked with both local and international nonprofits to coordinate builds with communities and student groups. Before becoming Director of Programs for The Elevated Studio, Inc., Ms. Tedesco worked for the New York office of Architecture for Humanity, LLC.