Nontraditional Emergency Shelters and People with Disabilities

Nontraditional Emergency Shelters and People with Disabilities

8th May, 2014

“Nontraditional Emergency Shelters and People with Disabilities” - the next session in the “Emergency Management and Preparedness - Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities Webinar Series” was held on May 8th, 2014.

Disasters can be unpredictable in scope, scale and size. In most cases, traditional shelters will meet an incident's needs. However, in some disasters, there may be a need to establish non-traditional shelters to meet 1) disaster survivors' immediate needs or 2) the need to locate residents closer to their community during the recovery phase. Non-traditional shelters may include soft sided structures in open areas as well as mega-shelter sites. Each presents a unique set of circumstances which require specific planning in order to meet the needs of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. This webinar will identify specific planning considerations relative to nontraditional sheltering in order to adequately meet the needs of the whole community.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify functional needs support services (FNSS) planning considerations for a nontraditional shelter response.
  • Identify specific issues that will need to be discussed, in advance, with partners and vendors to ensure accessibility and accommodation for people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.
  • Identify FNSS related considerations when conducting long term nontraditional shelter operations.


  • Kari Tatro is the Executive Vice President of Emergency Management Operations for BCFS HHS, an international system of nonprofit corporations. Ms. Tatro manages a comprehensive emergency management program for all hazards planning, preparedness, response and recovery operations, with specific emphasis on Emergency Support Functions 6 and 8, including mass care, medical needs operations, and functional needs support services. She has functioned as command staff for multiple catastrophic incident responses including Hurricanes Dolly, Gustav and Ike, served as the executive manager and subject matter expert responsible for developing the FEMA document and curriculum on integrating Functional Need Support Services (FNSS) into general population sheltering, published in 2010. Ms. Tatro started her career as a wild land fire fighter for the United States Forest Service before moving into a position working for the State of Texas coordinating emergency management activities for 16 counties.

Archive Materials:

Contact the Pacific ADA Center if you need access to this recording.