The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) Shriver Center Emergency Preparedness and Response Initiative is a tremendous resource for Emergency Management Directors, healthcare providers, first responders and public health employees in Massachusetts. However, it should be noted that the Center’s Initiative strives to not only educate public employees but also the public. Specifically, they provide training to ensure EVERYONE in the community is prepared, and the needs of the whole community are considered in the emergency planning process. For example, in order to inform community members, they recently offered emergency preparedness training for parents of children with disabilities. Their website describes the event:
[This] in-person interactive parent/guardian training workshop…provided an opportunity for participants to review a Toolkit with resource information, tip sheets and useful planning tools. A Family Emergency Plan Template helped participants develop and personalilze emergency plans with a focus on sharing “need to know” information about their child’s unique needs.
In addition to the template and toolkit listed above, there are many resources available for people interested in learning more about this topic. The UMASS site has two great aggregated lists:
- Resources for Adults with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs
- Resources for Children with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs and Their Families
In order to educate people responsible for providing life-sustaining support to individuals or families that are temporarily displaced or otherwise impacted by a disaster or emergency they developed the course titled: Active Planning for Mass Care Sheltering and Evacuation of People with Disabilities. Why is this training important?
“While equal access to emergency shelters and services is mandated by law, many local emergency plans continue to overlook people with disabilities. Experts report a corresponding nationwide knowledge gap among emergency personnel and stress the importance of whole community inclusive and collaborative emergency planning.”
In addition to the Shriver Center programs, the University of Massachusetts Medical School has a Center of Excellence for Emergency Preparedness Education and Training (CEEPET). CEEPET offer courses on this subject titled simply: Individuals Requiring Additional Assistance. (See also CEEPET flyer for 2013 courses – as of 04-25-13.) I described their program last November–but to recap, they offer the following modules:
- People with Special Medical Needs
- People with Disabilities
- Bariatric Populations
- People with Psychiatric Illness
- People who are Homeless
- Pregnant Women and Children
- People who Use Service Animals
- People with Cultural and Language Barriers
- Elderly Populations
Each of these free online courses “explore the needs of individual populations in an in-depth way.” Unlike the Shriver Center initiative, the CEEPET program’s target audience is the health care community: EMS personnel, hospital employees, public health officials, etc. However, anyone can sign up and take advantage of the wealth of information. In addition to the course, they also offer a Toolbox, or a list of a printable references from each lecture–and each of the references are hyperlinked, if available, for easy retrieval and can be accessed by anyone.