Office of Disability Integration & Coordination

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This page contains the mission of this office, resource links, a distribution list signup, news and more, and is intended for anyone looking for information and resources about emergency preparedness and disaster response, recovery and mitigation that is inclusive of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.

Integrating and coordinating emergency preparedness, response and recovery for children and adults with disabilities and others with access and functional needs before, during and after a disaster.

FEMA Disabilities Integration Specialist Mike Houston gives information on FEMA disaster assistance and being prepared at a meeting of hearing impaired persons. FEMA/Tim BurkittFlemington, N.J., October 22, 2011 -- Tony Rebinbas and his son get mitigation information from Bill Praust, a FEMA Community Relations specialist, as Tyak, a service dog, looks on. FEMA provides outreach for many programs offered to disaster survivors. Photo by Ed Edahl/FEMA


When communities integrate the needs of children and adults with disabilities and others with access and functional needs into their community-wide planning initiatives, they maximize resources, meet their obligations and strengthen their ability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.


In accordance with Federal civil rights laws and regulations, provide guidance, tools, methods and strategies to integrate and coordinate emergency management inclusive of individuals with access and functional needs

Preparedness Resources

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Other Disaster Resources

Office of Disability Integration and Coordination Communications List

To be added to the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC) email distribution list, please send your name, email address, city and state to FEMA-disability-integration-coordination with the subject field “Add - Distribution List”

Office of Disability Integration and Coordination News

Upcoming Webinars


FEMA Promising Practice: Including Emergency Management in Independent Living Centers to Maximize Potential for Whole Community Preparedness

Produced by the Pacific ADA Center of the ADA National Network in conjunction with FEMA - ODIC

The presentation centers on how offices of emergency management can work with disability organizations to increase inclusive emergency management practices in communities. it will also address ways that disability organizations can organize to provide resources towards disaster systems. Time of the webinar is 2:30 - 4 p.m. Eastern Time.


Advisory Committee Webinar

The Inclusive Emergency Management Webinar will stimulate discussion and thought about how emergency managers might affect disability inclusion by utilizing disability advisory groups across all phases of disasters including preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation and protection. The webinar is designed to help emergency managers at all levels identify gaps and will offer suggestions and best practices to move forward.


FAST Training Webinar

Presented by Kim Sackman this training is an introduction to the FAST Program developed in California to provide trained staff to conduct a functional assessment of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs as they arrive at shelters.


Evacuation Webinar

Presented by Richard Devylder with the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, this webinar will introduce participants to the topic of emergency evacuation and transportation planning inclusive of the needs of individuals with access and functional needs.


Providing Equal Access to Programs and Services is a FEMA Priority

FEMA strives to ensure that individuals with and without disabilities are provided with equal access to the information and resources that they need in order to protect themselves and recover from  unexpected emergencies and catastrophic events.


ODIC Hosts Promising Practices for the Whole Community Webinar March 11 for the inclusion of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs in emergency preparedness and disaster response and recovery. The topic for the webinar is the California Office of Emergency Services Disaster Response Interpreter training program to credential certified sign language interpreters, formalizing a statewide system of securing and deploying qualified interpreters during a disaster to provide communication access for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.  


ODIC Director Marcie Roth talks with Love That Max about preparedness steps for parents of children with disabilities.


Celebrating the 23rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act


Let’s Inclusively Plan: Some Stories, Mistakes and Advice

Taking a whole community approach to emergency management planning brings together residents who represent all areas of diversity to voice their needs and capabilities. Justin Sorg, Emergency Services Planner at the Mid-America Regional Council, shares his experiences inviting people with disabilities to his planning table and the advantages of whole community planning.


Take Action and Pledge this Hurricane Preparedness Week

We’re kicking off National Hurricane Preparedness Week! We are teaming up with our partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to encourage all Americans to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, which goes from June 1 through November 30. Hurricanes are powerful forces of nature that cause damage to coastlines and hundreds of miles inland because of flooding. Here are two videos that address preparing for emergencies:

      Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs

      Conversations with FEMA on Preparing for Emergencies with Marcie Roth and Neil McDevitt


Promising Practices in Whole Community Approaches
Stephanie Brady, Director of Programs, The Independent Living Center, Joplin, MO, points to what some agencies and organizations are doing to improve access for the whole community when planning for emergencies.


Reaching the deaf and hard of hearing to share invaluable severe weather safety information Neil McDevitt, Executive Director for the Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre, uses social media and a video with preparedness tips as communication vehicles to reach his organization's audience about disaster preparedness.


Federal Family Connects with Disability Advocates, Hires Advisors

Federal, state, and local officials met with dozens of advocacy groups that came together from New York and New Jersey to focus on disaster recovery issues for people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.


People Before Process by Marcie Roth, FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination

In the days immediately after Hurricane Sandy, FEMA held daily conference calls with members of the disability community, representatives from New York State, New York City, the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and the American Red Cross to coordinate efforts to bring assistance to the disability community affected by the storm.


FEMA Providing Access to Survivors with Disabilities

One night when he was 13, Mike Houston awakened to the sound of someone pounding on the front door of his home. Houston woke his parents, both of whom are deaf, and they opened the door to a sheriff...


22nd Anniversary of Signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act

This law protects the civil rights of more than 56 million Americans, or 20 percent of the population, who have physical, mobility, hearing, vision, speech, and cognitive, intellectual and mental health disabilities. Since the ADA was signed, many improvements have been made to eliminate barriers for people with disabilities; however, many still face obstacles that limit their health, safety and independence, especially in the midst of unexpected emergencies, or even worse, catastrophic events.FEMA is working to ensure equal opportunity for children and adults with disabilities and others who also have access and functional needs. Our mission extends to the whole community as we support our citizens and first responders to improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

           Americans with Disabilities Act Anniversaries


FEMA Think Tank for March 2012 Focuses on Disability Topics

Disasters can strike anywhere, anytime and can impact anyone, so everyone must be involved in emergency planning, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts. This is a message that FEMA’s senior leadership brings to the table at every opportunity. Read the transcript for the March 2012 Think Tank session.



As part of our larger efforts to strengthen our nation’s preparedness and resiliency, the Federal Communications Commission andFEMA conducted the first nation-wide test of the Emergency Alert System November 9. Testing the Emergency Alert System played a key role in evaluating and improving the systems we need in place to ensure that our nation is prepared for all hazards and that people within its borders are able to receive critical and vital information through the system, should it ever be needed.

The national Emergency Alert System is an alert and warning system established to enable the President of the United States, if needed, to address the American public during emergencies. It is another critical communications tool that can protect the public and strengthen our nation’s resiliency. The National Weather Service, governors, and state and local authorities also use parts of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts. The testwas an important exercise in ensuring that the system is effective in communicating critical information to the public in the event of a real national emergency.

In advance of theEmergency Alert Systemtest, onApril 25, 2011 the FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination with FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System and the Federal Communications Commission met with the Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center and were presented with findings and recommendations from field trials and focus groups that examined accessible EAS and Commercial Mobile Alert System alerts to wireless devices.Preliminary findings on the use of social media by those with access and functional needs were also presented. To view the results, visit the Wireless RERC website.


The “Getting Real II” Promising Practices in Inclusive Emergency Management for the Whole Community Conference focused on building partnerships and sharing promising practices. From September 12-14, 2011, participants learned about programs and efforts across the country that reflect FEMA's commitment to ensuring the whole community is involved with emergency planning. The Conference-On-Demand video webcast has more than 40 best practices in inclusive emergency managementnationwide and featureslocal, regional, state and federal emergency managers, disability community advocates and educators at all levels. Each video can be shared, and all presentations are downloaded via PDF and TXT files.The videos are available at

From September 22-24, 2010,FEMA's Officeof Disability Integration and Coordinationhosted "Getting Real" - 2010 Inclusive Emergency Management National Capacity Building Training Conference Webinar. The eventfeatured cross-training and bridge-buildingin inclusive emergency preparedness practices and was attended bymembers of the disability and emergency management communities. It involved post-training responsibility to engage and educate others on how to effectively collaborate in emergency preparedness and disaster response and recovery.


St. Petersburg College's National Terrorism Preparedness Institute, a division of the Center for Public Safety Innovation, hosted a Webcast/Satellite Broadcast on the FEMA/DHS initiative, Planning for the Whole Community. This broadcast can be viewed by visiting the Live Response website. The program highlighted ODIC and explained the importance of including people with access and functional needs in emergency and disaster planning. Guests included Marcie Roth, Director, FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination; Richard Devylder, Senior Advisor for Accessible Transportation at the U.S. Department of Transportation; and June Isaacson Kailes, Disability Policy Consultant/Associate Director at Western University in California.


FEMA And National Disability Rights Network Sign Agreement To Strengthen Emergency Management Collaboration FEMA and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) signed a memorandum of agreement that further strengthens their growing partnership to ensure that the access and functional needs of people with disabilities are incorporated into all aspects of planning for, responding to and recovering from disasters.


Region VIII Administrator Is Committed To Integrating The Disability Community Into FEMA’s Mission


FEMA Administrator Fugate And National Council On Independent Living Sign Memorandum Of Agreement FEMA, NCIL Mark the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act


Marcie Roth, Director of ODIC, testified before the House Homeland Committee’s Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness, and Response.

Oral Testimony (PDF, TXT)

Written Testimony (PDF , TXT)

Last Updated: 
10/31/2014 - 15:02
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