"Access & Functional Needs" is one of the current fault lines of effective emergency planning and response. While the concepts and importance of access & functional needs planning and response are becoming better understood among different emergency partners, operationalizing access & functional needs responsibilities is still challenging. It sounds a lot like the story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody:
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
Fixing fault-lines like coordinated access & functional needs planning and response is not a fast process. It requires a culture shift among many emergency partners to see their responsibilities in a new "people-focused" light. Critical practices in Colorado's efforts to "get it right" have been lock-step collaboration of state government partners who lead ESF-5, ESF-6, and ESF-8 planning and response, as well as seeking ongoing feedback and planning guidance from community members and organizations who regularly resource people with disabilities and other access & functional needs. Strong communication and ongoing collaboration is the only way to make sure everybody can do their role and nobody gets left behind in our emergency practices.
- Describe emergency preparedness and response program factors that impact the distribution of access & functional needs responsibilities among public health, emergency management and human services partners in Colorado.
- Identify at least 3 access & functional needs activities that Colorado's Access & Functional Needs Program have coordinated with multidisciplinary emergency and community partners to initiate knowledge and capacity across the state.
Aimee Voth Siebert integrates disaster behavioral health and access & functional needs into the programming, grant activities, partner networks, and public health response planning done by CDPHE's Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response (OEPR), promoting a people-centered lens for emergency preparedness and response. In nearly 9 years with OEPR, Aimee has supported Colorado's responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2013 floods, multiple wildfire seasons, and several mass shooting events, as well as national and international responses including Hurricane Maria and the West Africa Ebola Response. In preparedness periods, Aimee contributes leadership to the development of Colorado's Access & Functional Needs program, offering training and other technical assistance in disaster behavioral health, integrating access & functional needs considerations, community preparedness and inclusion, and crisis communications.
Charlotte Olsen is the Regional Emergency Management Specialist (REMS) for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) under Health and Human Services in Region 8. Prior to this she worked for the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) as the emergency manager. While in Colorado, she coordinated Emergency Support Function 6 (ESF #6)- Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing and Human Services- for the State of Colorado in the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and collaborates with other State agencies, local human services agencies and providers, local and State non-profits, and other stakeholders to provide support to those affected before, during, and after disasters.
Sadie Martinez is the Colorado State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management's (DHSEM) Access and Functional Needs Coordinator her role focuses on coordinating the development and operations of a statewide network of contracted local Access and Functional Needs integration emergency planners. She supports state agencies and local jurisdictions in the development of inclusive, whole community emergency operations plans that adequately account for people with Access and Functional Needs, emergency preparedness workshops and serves as the Access and Functional Needs subject matter expert during state-level planning initiatives, Sadie is using the C-MIST framework to support whole community inclusion in emergency management lifecycle resource planning in the functional needs of Communications, Maintain Health, Independence, Safety, Support Services, Self-Determination, and Transportation from a resource standpoint, rather than a special need or vulnerability. Helping Colorado emergency managers better understand what capabilities to acquire before, during, and after a disaster by approaching Access & Functional Needs from a resource perspective.