Alliance of Disability Advocates’ Role in Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response

Alliance of Disability Advocates (ADANC), is a federally funded Center for Independent Living (CIL) serving Raleigh-Durham and the surrounding areas in North Carolina.

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During Hurricane Florence, in the fall of 2018, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services requested support from ADANC to 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 as a backup NCEM FAST Coordinator and has deployed in declared emergencies. Several ADANC staff are certified FAST responders.




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 shelter.

FAST responders help identify the Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) of shelter evacuees necessary 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.

For More Information about FAST:

Sheri Badger
NCEM Disability Integration Specialist
FAST Program Manager
919-825-2568 desk
919-675-3278 cell


Recommended Resources

Additional Information

More information about how ADANC works together with the community to provide emergency preparedness and disaster response support:

The Role of Centers for Independent Living (CIL) in Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response

The Administration of Community Living (ACL) recognizes that Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) are increasingly playing a pivotal role in addressing the often daunting challenges individuals with disabilities and their families face during and following a disaster or other emergency.  ACL recognizes the enormous importance of CILs providing inclusive emergency preparedness and disaster response services to the lives, health, and independence of individuals with disabilities and their families.  Moreover, a key element of effective emergency preparedness is to take action and put steps in place that are essential to responding to disaster before it strikes. 

According to policy instructions issued to CILs by the Independent Living Administration (ILA), Alliance of Disability Advocates, a CIL serving the Raleigh/Durham and surrounding areas in NC may engage as follow:

CILs may provide Title VII independent living (IL) services to individuals with disabilities who have been affected by a disaster or emergency who live within their designated service area and who have evacuated into their service area.

ACL encourages the Centers for Independent Living to rely on each other during such periods to meet the critical needs of people with disabilities. 

While ACL does not require it, they also urge CILs to strongly consider developing Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) to outline steps Centers can take to assist people with disabilities in affected disaster areas, including service areas that a Center is not assigned to serve. 

If the area affected is not covered by a CIL, one or more CIL(s) in the general vicinity is certainly allowed and encouraged to provide services to individuals with disabilities affected.

In an area affected by a disaster where a CIL is already providing services but requires the assistance of another CIL, ACL expects the CIL seeking to provide disaster response services to collaborate with the existing CIL serving the area to do so. 

Read the full Disaster Services Policy from ACL