Pilot Test “Closing the Gap in Local Emergency Planning for People with Disabilities,” An Online Course

Dear Local Emergency Manager or Public Health Preparedness Planner:

The E.K. Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), seeks public safety and public health emergency planners to pilot test an online emergency planning training program, “Closing the Gap in Local Emergency Planning for People with Disabilities.” The project is funded by a grant from the UMMS Commonwealth Medicine division.

Pilot testers will learn about the “Community Stakeholder Meeting” process, to promote emergency planning collaboration between first responders, emergency planners, local officials, and the disability community, and improve local emergency plans. In a prior project we successfully implemented Community Stakeholder Meetings in over 25 MA cities and towns. Each participating community identified at least 5 gaps in their emergency plans and developed (generally low cost) strategies to address those gaps.

Once accepted, a pilot tester will have 1 week to complete the training, which will be available online 24-7 starting in early fall and should take approximately 90 minutes to complete. Pilot testers will also be asked questions about subject matter knowledge, usability and satisfaction with the training, and basic demographics such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, knowledge about disability and emergency planning experience.

Pilot tester identities will be kept confidential and will not be shared with any person or entity outside the project team, including in presentations or publications. Participants’ names are never identified with their responses in our project evaluation.

Pilot testers will gain valuable knowledge and strategies regarding inclusive emergency planning. Pilot testers will preview new course materials currently not available to the public and provide important course development feedback, contributing to a critical body of knowledge. Upon completion of the course, pilot testers may download a complete copy of the Community Stakeholder Meeting workbook guide, a resource list, and a certificate of completion as thanks for their participation.

Eligible participants must be adults 21 years of age or older who:

  1. Function as county, regional, city or town emergency management, public safety or public health personnel, working full or part time on either a paid or volunteer basis, regardless of official title;
  2. Have substantive responsibility (alone or with others) for oversight, preparation or exercising of local emergency plans, policies and/or procedures for natural, human caused or public health emergencies/disasters; and
  3. Feel competent reading and understanding written English, and using a computer with Internet broadband connectivity.

If you interested in being considered as a pilot tester please click on this secure application link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B2MJ8CW and complete our pilot tester eligibility survey by 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time, September 4, 2015. We will notify applicants about acceptance as pilot testers as soon as possible. We will send eligible pilot testers a link to the training and they will have 1 week to complete the training.

If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact Jennifer Brooks at shriver.recruit@umassmed.edu

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