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

Schedule 2016-17

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: Emergency communications approaches during and after an emergency

9th March, 2017

Register here to attend this webinar.

It is well known that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can experience communication issues during emergency announcements. It is also well-known that meetings need communications accommodations for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. In the emergency world, there are crucial meetings that people in the community need to be involved in after an emergency.

Today's webinar highlights two efforts to bridge those gaps. First, the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (ACDHH), along with the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA), Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management (MCDEM), Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM), and the American Red Cross-Arizona/New Mexico/El Paso Chapter collaborated to create the "Emergency Response Interpreters Credentialing Program" (ERIC) for ASL Interpreters and CART providers wishing to provide services during emergency and disaster response situations. As a result of this program, trained and qualified interpreters and captioners are available to work in a variety of high-pressure settings, such as evacuation shelters, press conferences, active wildfire camps, and community meetings. The inaugural training for the ERIC program was hosted in November of 2016 and organizers have received overwhelmingly positive feedback. This webinar will discuss the role of each agency in the training and implementation phases of the program, as well as training content and participant requirements.

In the second presentation, the North Carolina Division of Services for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) will share its experience in organizing events for Hurricane Matthew survivors who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing with assistance from FEMA and NC Emergency Management Recovery. They will review the obstacles survivors who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing face when they attend local community meetings or events that were provided to public even when communication access (ASL interpreters, CART) are being provided? DSDHH will describe how the event for survivors was set up with FEMA's and NC Emergency Management's participation.

Learning objectives:

  • Identify potential gaps in accessibility for Deaf and Hard of Hearing community members during emergency/disaster response.
  • Understand the importance of multiple agency partnerships in addressing identified gaps
  • Understand the participation and training requirements necessary for professionals providing accessibility during emergency/disaster response
  • Strengthen awareness on the importance of having a separate event for disaster survivors who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing in order to meet their needs for more depth access to information that will impact how much they receive during the recovery process.
  • Develop tools in organizing an event for disaster survivors who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing.
  • Recognize the importance of working collaboratively with FEMA and local emergency responders in the event of a federal disaster declaration.


Vicki Bond is the Interpreter Outreach and Development Coordinator at the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing, where she provides outreach and education to interpreters and providers working with interpreters throughout the state of Arizona. She helped to create and pilot the ERIC program, ensuring that the training content and support systems created by the team would be sufficient to sustain the professionals providing access during emergency response events in Arizona. Vicki has been an ASL/English interpreter for 13 years, having earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Arizona in Educational Interpreting, and a Master of Arts degree in Interpretation from Gallaudet University. She holds the NIC Advanced certification, and the State of Arizona Legal A Interpreting License.

Judy Kioski is the Administrator for the Arizona Emergency Information Network (, the State's source for real-time emergency bulletins, preparedness information and related resources. This website is a nationwide model for emergency response agency partnerships and social media interaction. Judy has been working in emergency public information and crisis communication since 2003. Over the past 13 years, she has been responsible for coordinating a "single governmental voice" when responding to an emergency that requires state assistance and coordinates the state Joint Information System. She works with state agencies, tribes, counties and volunteer organizations in coordinating public awareness campaigns, emergency messaging and preparedness issues.

Donna Platt is Emergency Preparedness Coordinator with North Carolina Division of Services for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing. She has over 17-year experience providing support, training, and consultation to 9-1-1 telecommunicators and emergency responders on effective communication access to Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing individuals in Washington State and North Carolina as well as education and resources on 9-1-1, emergency notification and preparedness to those consumers. Donna was one of four co-organizers in coordinating Disaster Preparedness Skills Building Training for Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing in Seattle for two years. She was one of subject expert matters for the development of Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.'s Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network (CEPIN) training manual for both emergency responders and community members who were Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing. She is currently NENA Accessibility Committee Co-Chair to ensure that 9-1-1 technologies and services are communication accessible for individuals with disabilities when calling 911 directly. Donna has served on three national committees; National Association for the Deaf's Emergency Communication Subcommittee, FCC Emergency Access Advisory Committee, and Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center National Advisory Committee-University of California-Berkeley.

ADA National Network Learning Session: Clear & Effective Emergency Communications over Wireless Devices

11th May, 2017

During an emergency, alert and warning officials need to provide the public with life-saving emergency messages that inform those in the impacted area and compel them to take protective actions. Emergency information is not always presented in formats accessible to people with different levels of sensory, cognitive and physical disabilities. Likewise, the devices on which they receive emergency information are not always optimized for use with emergency information tools such as WEA, subscription-based alerting systems, or local and state apps (e.g. Ready Georgia). This webinar will address composing message content and delivery format features that can enhance the accessibility of the information to people with disabilities. We will also cover smartphone features that can improve the accessibility of emergency messages. The webinar will close with a description and demonstration of an accessible system, Deaf Link's Accessible Hazard Alert System (AHAS).

Learning objectives:

  • Learn about the use of wireless emergency communications tools by people with disabilities, as well as their expressed needs and preferences.
  • Understand the emergency message content tips that improve accessibility, trust, and reliability of emergency information.
  • Understand the "How-to's" for subscribing and enabling accessible emergency alerts on Android and iOS devices for people with disabilities.
  • Understand the recommendations for trustworthy apps, internet resources, and social media feeds related to accessible emergency alerts
  • Expanded understanding of how to effectively alert members of the Deaf community.


Kay Chiodo is a certified ASL interpreter and subject matter expert in accessible communications. She has testified before the FCC and Congress regarding the need for accessible emergency information. She is the CEO of Deaf Link, Inc. a company that leads the nation in the development and implementation of services to support inclusion for people with sensory disabilities in emergency preparedness before, during and after a disaster. In 2005, Deaf Link's Accessible Hazard Alert System (AHAS) sent the nation's first accessible alert (ASL, Voice, Text, Braille accessible) to residents in Houston for Hurricane Rita. Ms. Chiodo has received national recognition and awards for Deaf Link's services including the 2008 COMPUTERWORLD - 21st Century Achievement Award and the 2009 Cleve Allen Award for outstanding support of Emergency Management in the delivery of accessible emergency information and alerts.

Salimah LaForce is a research analyst at the Center for Advanced Communications Policy, the home of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC). She conducts consumer, policy and industry research and serves as project director for the Wireless RERC policy and outreach initiatives. Salimah is editor of the monthly policy newsletter, Technology and Disability Policy Highlights, for more than ten years; and has co-authored more than 65 conference papers, presentations, reports, and federal regulatory filings.

Ben Lippincott is task leader for the Wireless RERC's outreach to consumers with disabilities. Ben has been leading user outreach and working closely to promote industry relations for over 12 years. He is co-editor of the Wireless RERC consumer website and editor of the Re: Wireless electronic newsletter. Ben has been the lead for a nationwide rollout of a series of consumer education workshops that highlight the accessibility features of smartphones. The workshops are called Wireless Independence Now (WIN) and are produced in collaboration with ATT.