ADA National Network Webinar Series: Emergency Management and Preparedness-Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

Schedule 2017-18

These 90 minute webinars are delivered by the Pacific ADA Center using the Blackboard Collaborate webinar platform. All sessions will be captioned, recorded and archived.

This program is delivered via both webinar platform and via telephone (additional charges may apply). Real-time captioning is available via the webinar platform.

Webinars begin at ET: 2.30pm, CT: 1.30pm, MT:12.30pm, PT:11.30am, Hawaii: 9.30am during mainland Standard Time; 8.30am during mainland Daylight Savings Time

ADA National Network Learning Session: Recovery After Disasters and Individuals with Disabilities - What We Know and What We Do Not

14th March, 2019

Registration for this webinar is not yet open.

Of the phases of the disaster cycle, the recovery phase is the longest but the least explored with respect to the experiences of people with disabilities. This session will provide an overview of what research reveals about the needs of people with disabilities and their families post-disaster. Barriers to the recovery process as well as the resource and service roles of state and local agencies, FEMA, and voluntary organizations post-disaster will be discussed.

Learning objectives:

  • Attendees will learn what research findings reveal about the needs of people with disabilities post-disaster.
  • Attendees will identify barriers which individuals with disabilities and their families encounter during the recovery phase of disaster.
  • Attendees will identify recovery services and resources typically available through various organizations post-disaster.


Dr. Laura M. Stough is Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Assistant Director at the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University. She directs Project REDD: Research and Education on Disaster and Disability and currently serves as Chair of the Disability Task Force on Emergency Management for the Division of Emergency Management for the State of Texas and as Chair of the Emergency Management Special Interest Group for the Association of University Centers on Disability.

Dr. Amy N. Sharp is the Director of the Texas Center for Disability Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She has developed online directories and resource guides used by county extension agents and disaster recovery case managers throughout Texas. Dr. Sharp has conducted evaluation and research studies on how hurricanes impact individuals with disabilities.

Originally from California, Elizabeth Hong moved to Texas four years ago. Liz is the mother of four children, two with disabilities. She is a former special education teacher, with a passion for educational rights, mental health and helping to support families. She works at Texas Parent to Parent on the Family Support team providing information for families whose child has a disability.

ADA National Network Learning Session: We All Want Disability Inclusion in Emergency Management - New Research on What is Actually Happening

11th April, 2019

This webinar will review findings from new research conducted by New York University and the Pacific ADA Center on what local emergency managers in federal region 9 say they have done and can do to include people with disabilities in emergency planning, response, recovery, and mitigation. Crucial information about disability inclusion in emergency management and the structural needs of local offices to achieve this was discovered.

Learning objectives:

  • Name three key responsibilities of Offices of Emergency management to ensure access to people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs?
  • Discuss the role that ADA coordinators can play with respect to ensuring Offices of Emergency Management meet the ADA requirements with respect to disaster preparedness and response.


Robyn Gershon is a Clinical Professor and researcher at the College of Global Public Health at NYU. Previously she served a Professor at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health and at University of California, San Francisco, with an Adjunct Professorship at UC Berkeley, School of Public Health. She developed and teaches three asynchronous on-line disaster courses, the most recent is on Healthcare Disaster Management.

Dr. Gershon's research focuses on barriers and facilitators to disaster preparedness - especially with respect to vulnerable populations and essential workers- including the health care and public health workforce. Dr. Gershon's research is designed to inform policy and practice, as exemplified by her landmark "World Trade Center Evacuation Study," which helped lead to the first changes in the New York City high rise fire safety codes in more than 30 years. One of her most recent studies: "Mass Fatality Preparedness in the US", was the first national study on the operational capabilities and readiness for the management of mass fatalities within the US. Along with her colleague, Lewis Kraus of the Pacific ADA, she conducted a large national study on disaster preparedness for people with disabilities. They are currently conducting a study to determine the degree to which the needs of people with disabilities are addressed in local emergency management (FEMA Region 9) disaster planning and response activities - the topic of today's session. Dr. Gershon has published more than 125 peer review articles on her research.

ADA National Network Learning Session: Fitting Accessibility into the Design and Construction Standards of Storm Shelters.

9th May, 2019

The ICC 500 is a standard for the design and construction of storm shelters for protection from tornados and hurricanes. This course will review where storm shelters are required by the International building codes. There will also be an overview of the technical, or the how to, requirements in the ICC 500, including access for persons with disabilities. The needs of the type of shelter differ because of the differences between tornadoes and hurricanes. Some of the biggest differences is the amount of warning time to get to a shelter, the time the occupants will stay in the shelter and the differences in the forces from the wind and debris on the shelter. This class will explain those differences and the why behind the requirements.

Learning objectives:

  • Identify where storm shelters are required in the codes.
  • Determine the extent to which storm shelter standard (ICC 500) provisions apply for required and non-required storm shelters
  • Have a general understanding of scoping (where) and technical (how) requirements for tornado and hurricane storm shelters


Kimberly Paarlberg is a Senior Staff Architect in Technical Services with the International Code Council (ICC). Her experience with ICC includes work in the plan review and code development departments with responsibilities for code development, providing code interpretations, instructing technical seminars and authoring and reviewing instruction materials, code commentary and publication articles. Kimberly serves as code development secretary for the IBC Means of Egress/Accessibility and IBC and IRC Structural committees. She is ICC representative for development of the referenced technical standard, ICC/ANSI A117.1 "Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities." She is also secretariat for the ICC 500 - Design and Construction of Storm Shelters.

Before joining ICC, Kimberly worked as a structural engineer and architect. Kim is a licensed architect in Illinois and holds an Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner certification. She is also a member of her county Civil Emergency Response Team (CERT), and has completed several FEMA classes.