FEMA Promising Practice: Engaging Emergency Management Leadership to be Champions of Disability Integration and Inclusive Planning

FEMA Promising Practice: Engaging Emergency Management Leadership to be Champions of Disability Integration and Inclusive Planning

9th February, 2017

The Commonwealth of Virginia has learned that a whole community approach to emergency management requires leadership that promotes and champions inclusive emergency planning and disability integration. When leadership is not convinced of the necessity of whole community planning, inclusive planning, policy changes, and disability integration is extremely challenging. However, when leadership becomes champions of whole community emergency management, amazing results can be achieved. This webinar will review how the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) achieved an engaged, supportive leadership VDEM has achieved great and the resulting successes in whole community emergency management that engagement provided.

Come hear this webinar covering some of the most significant results of Virginia's leading from the top approach including:

  • Creation of the Access and Functional Needs Advisory Committee
  • Functional and Access Needs Network
  • Disability Partner calls during emergency response operations and recovery
  • Establishment of Functional and Access Needs Support Teams volunteer programs in partnership with the Medical Reserve Corps
  • Ensuring accessibility of shelters and the sheltering program was written in to the job description of the new State Sheltering Coordinator position
  • Including access and functional needs considerations in the development of the new statewide sheltering strategy
  • Including a certified ADA Coordinator in review of the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan and Annexes

Learning objectives:

  • Learn how leadership can move disability inclusion and integration forward.
  • Learn how to turn leadership into champions of change for disability inclusion and integration.
  • Learn how state emergency management agencies can lead from the top down with local agencies
  • Learn what leadership needs to be involved and why.
  • Learn about what Virginia is doing to ensure equal access to their emergency programs and planning.


Dawn Brantley is the Sheltering Coordinator and Acting Director of External Affairs for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management where her responsibilities include developing a comprehensive, state-wide strategic approach for sheltering operations and ensuring sheltering programs are accessible to everyone. Ms. Brantley previously served as Regional Inclusive Emergency Planner for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and as Emergency Programs Manager for the Office of Emergency Management in Anchorage, Alaska. She has also served as a Disability Integration Advisor in FEMA's Reservist program and is a certified ADA Coordinator.