Institute and FEMA Region III Host "Conversational Gathering"
edited August 2017
On Tuesday, January 15, 2013, more than 60 people gathered for a meeting—described as a "conversation"—co-sponsored by the Institute on Disabilities and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Region III (Region III encompasses Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia). Held in center city Philadelphia, the gathering welcomed emergency managers and disability leaders for a series of discussions on the topic "Assistive Technology and Access for People with Functional Needs: A focus on Emergency Management for the Whole Community."
"We began discussing these issues ... last year and realized that we needed to expand the scope as well as stakeholder participation." --Amy S. Goldman
Participants spent the day sharing what has been learned from recent events, including Super Storm Sandy, and developed ideas to strengthen the planning, response, recovery and mitigation activities of the region. Amy Goldman, the co-executive director of the Institute on Disabilities says that this conversational gathering event evolved from an earlier meeting. "We began discussing these issues during the Region III Summit on Emergency Management and Assistive Technology last year and realized that we needed to expand the scope as well as stakeholder participation."
Marcie Roth, Director of FEMA's Office of Disability Integration and Coordination gave the keynote address. Discussion topics included accessible alerting and messaging; distribution of durable medical equipment and assistive technology; integrating disability advocates into long-term recovery committees; disability integration and funding initiatives. The ultimate goal of the meeting was to begin to identify potential solutions to the barriers encountered by people with functional needs in the face of emergency or disaster.