Workshop Aims to Improve Emergency Preparedness and Response for those with Access & Functional Needs

February 24, 2015  //  

VDEM Press Release

10501 Trade Court
Richmond, Virginia 23226


Feb. 24, 2015

CONTACT: Susan Mongold
(804) 516-5777

Workshop Aims to Improve Emergency Preparedness and Response for those with Access & Functional Needs

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), Portlight Strategies Inc. and the Hampton Roads Regional Catastrophic Planning Team is hosting the state’s first workshop devoted to improving all aspects of emergency preparedness and response for those with access and functional needs.

“Catastrophic disasters like hurricanes Sandy and Katrina have brought attention to the needs of the most vulnerable populations,” said State Coordinator Dr. Jeff Stern. “This workshop will help us to improve the way we plan for and respond to the needs of older Virginians, people with disabilities and their families.”

The two-day “Getting It Right” workshop held today and tomorrow at the Marriott City Center in Newport News brings together representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), American Red Cross, disability stakeholder organizations, and those involved in the recent litigation of the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled v. City of New York to discuss how individuals with access and functional needs can receive equal access to programs, services and activities related to emergencies and disasters. Workshop participants include state and local emergency management professionals, city and county administrators and attorneys, and disability advocates. Portlight Strategies Inc. has presented similar “Getting It Right” workshops in New Jersey, Georgia and South Carolina.

“The Hampton Roads Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Team is excited about bringing this workshop to Virginia,” said Isle of Wight County Emergency Management Coordinator and Regional Catastrophic Planning Team Chairperson Andrea Clontz. “Emergency and shelter planning presents a complex set of issues that must be addressed correctly so that every citizen in our locality is treated with respect and dignity. We hope this workshop will increase our skills and resources to inclusively plan for the needs of all citizens.”

Registration is closed for this event; however, the presentations will be live-streamed at See the workshop agenda for presentation times and topics.

After the workshop, Portlight Strategies Inc. will post the presentations from the various speakers and links to videos produced at the workshop to their Getting It Right – Hampton Roads web page at These videos will also be posted to YouTube and will include closed caption and a sign language interpreter.


Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund