Preparedness Newsletter

This Digest is provided by FEMA's Individual & Community Preparedness Division to highlight community preparedness and resilience resources, an important part of FEMA's mission to help people before, during, and after disasters. We're building a culture of preparedness together.

Join the Individual & Community Preparedness Division for a Webinar on Disaster Response and Disability: Approaches for Citizen Responders

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Individual & Community Preparedness Announcement


Webinar Announcement

Disaster Response and Disability: Approaches for Citizen Responders

Please join FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness Division on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 from 1:00pm - 2:00pm ET for a webinar on disaster response actions that support people with access and functional needs, as well as those with disabilities.

The Disaster Response and Disability: Approaches for Citizen Responders webinar features federal, state and academic subject matter experts who will present approaches to increase inclusivity for people with access and functional needs, and those with disabilities, in disaster response. Topics include Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and You Are the Help Until Help Arrives. A Q&A session will follow the presentations.

For more information and to register for this webinar, visit Disaster Response and Disability: Approaches for Citizen Responders . Closed captioning and an American Sign Language interpreter will be provided. For reasonable accommodations or questions, please email



Aaron Levy, Director, FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division

Aaron Levy is the Director of FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness Division where he leads the agency's efforts to help people prepare for disasters. Aaron oversees programs that partner at all levels of government, the private sector and community organizations to increase citizen and community preparedness and encourage disaster resilience across the nation.

Linda Mastandrea, Director, FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination

Linda Mastandrea is the Director of FEMA's Office of Disability Integration (ODIC) and Coordination. She will present on the office's role within FEMA, emergency response and preparedness, and communities. 

ODIC advises the FEMA Administrator and helps the agency's offices proactively design programs, services, policies and procedures that integrate the needs of people with disabilities into the whole spectrum of emergency and disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

ODIC also helps people with disabilities and their families prepare for and respond to disaster, while working with state, local, tribal and territorial stakeholders to build resilient, inclusive communities for people with disabilities.

Samantha Royster, CERT Program Manager, North Carolina Department of Public Safety

Samantha Royster is the CERT Program Manager for North Carolina Emergency Management. She will present the state's efforts to include acces and functional needs in many aspects of emergency management, specifically CERT training. 

Samantha will share how to incorporate the whole community into CERT Basic Training and full-scale exercises; as well as awareness training for inclusive positive interactions. During the 2018 National CERT Conference, Samanthat presented on disability awareness, and educated attendees on the daily challenges people with disabilities face and how these challenges compound in a disaster situation. In this webinar, she will describe how she conducted this exercise and how participants planned to change their behavior in the future as a result.

Pattijean Hooper, Ph.D., CEM, Trident University International

Dr. Pattijean Hooper will present on the concept that all emergency management programs should be both useful and universally accessible – including planning, preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation and policies.

Unlike many field planning models that often have people with disabilities positioned as waiting to be rescued, her presentation will approach emergency management with the assumption that if the program is designed to be inclusive, the results will be inclusive.

Two specific programs will be highlighted:

  • The Accessible Community Emergency Response Team (Accessible CERT) training, followed by the Accessible CERT Train-the-Trainer course, were the first CERT class in the State of Washington taught  by deaf people to  deaf people, using American Sign Language.
  • The Accessible Stop the Bleed  training was a tactile and auditory presentation to a group of 20 blind individuals interested in community response operations should they encounter an active shooter incident. 

Webinar Registration

If you would like to register for this webinar, please visit the following link: Disaster Response and Disability: Approaches for Citizen Responders .

Please note there is limited capacity for this session. If you have any questions or require any assistance, please contact us at


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