FEMA Promising Practice: Community Maps to Catalyze Partnerships, Planning and Advocacy for Access and Functional Needs

FEMA Promising Practice: Community Maps to Catalyze Partnerships, Planning and Advocacy for Access and Functional Needs

12th March, 2015

This webinar will highlight a state-wide mapping project aimed at bridging the gap in current emergency preparedness and response planning and resources, especially for those with disabilities or other access and functional needs. There is a need to supplement current hazard-and-infrastructure-focused risk assessments with indicators of community access and functional needs, which intersect all hazards and response roles in a community. Following the identification of these indicators, collaborators enhanced the project by building complementary maps to represent community resources found throughout the state that could be engaged to help address the community needs identified. As more of these resource maps are built and engage new partners, this project supports the work of many emergency preparedness and response partners, catalyzing collaborative conversations and projects about planning, partnership and Whole Community preparedness.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Frame community vulnerability in resilient and sustainable terms and describe information derived from historical approaches
  2. Provide map development and data selection processes as potential model for capturing community needs and resources
  3. Relate current and future activities in Colorado supported by mapping resources


  • Aimee Voth Siebert, began working for the Colorado's Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response at the State Dept. of Public Health and Environment in May of 2012. She has served as a Communications Liaison and most recently as the Community Inclusion Coordinator and a Disaster Behavioral Health Specialist. She launched immediately into her role during the 2012 Wildfire Season and the Century 16 Theater Shooting in Aurora. Her other disaster response and planning experiences have included the 2013 Wildfire Season and the 2013 September flooding, during which she lead the grant writing for a 60-day $800,000 crisis counseling program for all 9 disaster-declared counties. Between emergencies, Ms. Siebert works to engage communities, and develop systems, resources and training in access and functional needs, behavioral health, and communications for myriad emergency response audiences. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Communications and a certificate in Neuroscience from Bethel College in 2010, and a Masters in International Disaster Psychology from the University of Denver in 2012.
  • Devon Williford, has been working at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment since 2004, assisting the department in developing desktop GIS and web-mapping applications supporting data visualization, disease surveillance, mapping community health resources, environmental public health tracking, and emergency preparedness and response. In addition, Mr. Williford is manager of the department's Health GIS unit, responsible for managing the department's GIS infrastructure and providing support to GIS users within the department. Mr. Williford received a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography and Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the University of Georgia in 1998, and a Master of Public Health degree with a focus in Epidemiology from the Colorado School of Public Health in 2011.
  • Julia Beems, is Senior Instructor and the Assistive Technology Program Outreach Coordinator, and Emergency Preparedness Program Coordinator with Assistive Technology Partners in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Center. She also holds a secondary appointment in Pediatrics. Ms Beems was trained as a horticultural therapist and rehabilitation counselor/vocational evaluator. She has worked in the field of assistive technology for over 30 years providing assessments, technical assistance and training to individuals with disabilities their family members and the professionals who serve them. She has developed a program to assist the first responder community and individuals with all types of disabilities and all ages prepare for emergencies. Ms Beems current responsibilities include providing outreach services across Colorado to individuals with disabilities and their family members; professionals from educational, employment, healthcare and emergency response agencies who work with them; policy makers and legislators; and the general public. Her areas of expertise include low-tech, low-cost assistive technology solutions, emergency preparedness and modifications for the rural and agricultural communities. Ms Beems represents ATP as a member of the North Central Region Functional Needs Steering Committee, the state Community Preparedness Advisory Council, the Colorado Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities, and the Statewide Independent Living Council. She has been recognized by the American Horticultural Therapy Association for Humanitarian Service and by AARP as an Outstanding Community Partner.


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