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

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 fire preparedness for people with disabilities and accessibility issues in the home. The first is Home Fire Safety Solutions for People with Disabilities, which 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.

The second presentation covers concerns for accessibility and universal design that complement the needs of populations that age in place. Design professionals can serve as educator and “expert” to encourage a resident to plan for accessibility for themselves, their visitors, and for any future inhabitants over their life 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.