Alliance of Disability Advocates’ Role in Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response
During Hurricane Florence, in the fall of 2018, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services requested support from ADANC for individuals with disabilities in shelters. ADANC staff worked over 140 hours during a two-week period alongside the United States Public Health Service Officers as Florence survivors transitioned from the Clayton Medical Shelter back to a community setting instead of an institution. Out of the 55 survivors with disabilities who came through the Clayton Medical Shelter, only 4 were transitioned to an institution from the shelter consistent with their choice.
Since then ADANC has continued to be actively involved with the efforts of the North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM) to improve the state’s response to individuals with disabilities and other functional needs during disasters. ADANC staff participates in three of the workgroups of NCEM’s CMIST Committee: Functional Assessment Support Teams (FAST) to train and deploy FAST responders in NC; Improving Accessing to Mental Health Service in Shelters, and ensuring Accessibility in Shelters.
ADANC’s executive director is currently one of four FAST trainers and was involved in developing the curriculum. She has been a backup NCEM FAST Coordinator and has deployed in declared emergencies. Several ADANC staff are certified, FAST responders.
Visit ReadyNC.org for instructions on building a kit, and creating a family emergency and communications plan.
Remember to include hand sanitizer, face coverings, and sanitizing wipes in your kit.
Residents interested in learning about their pre-determined coastal evacuation zone should visit KnowYourZone.nc.gov
More information about how ADANC works together with the community to provide emergency preparedness and disaster response support:
The role of a Functional Assessment Support Team (FAST)
FAST is made up of trained, deployable team members that work in Disaster Service Centers (Shelter) during disasters to assist shelter workers with assessments of people with access and functional needs and others with disabilities and helping to ensure those needs are met.
NCEM will deploy a FAST to any Disaster Service Center when requested by a County Emergency Manager, including but not limited to: evacuation shelters, general population shelters, reunification centers, family assistance centers, and disaster recovery shelters.
FAST responders help identify the Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) of shelter evacuees necessary to enable those individuals to maintain their independence while in disaster service centers (shelters) and may include:
- reasonable modification to policies, practices, and procedures;
- durable medical equipment (DME)
- consumable medical supplies
- personal assistance services (PAS)
- other goods and services as needed.
FAST responders do not replace:
- Personal Care Assistants
- Health Services/Nursing staff
- Mental Health Services professionals; or
- General Shelter Workers/Volunteers