Online Program

Development of toolkit for evacuation and transportation of people with disabilities: Experience of the California Working Group

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Rita Burke, PhD, MPH, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Richard Devylder, Office for Access and Functional Needs, California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, Mather, CA

According to the most recent Census, approximately 56.7 million people (19%) have a disability in the United States, including 14.6 million children 0-17 years. It is well documented that this population is particularly vulnerable in the event of a disaster. However, to date, there has been no national guidance issued on the evacuation or transportation for this population.


In 2014, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services established a Working Group charged with developing guidance for the evacuation and transportation of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs in a large-scale emergency.  Key stakeholders were interviewed prior to the first convening of the working group to gather relevant information and identify key gaps. The Working Group was charged with addressing policy issues, providing input and recommendations, and reaching resolution on the final document. Representation included schools, hospital, counties, emergency medical services, first responders, and transportation.


The Working Group convened four times between July through November, 2014. Consensus was sought to produce a final document summarizing best practices and findings. Documents developed included the final document, checklist, draft framework, and guidance supplement.


The overarching goal of the Working Group was to provide guidance from national leaders and experts on evacuation and transportation best practices for individual with disabilities and access and functional needs. The documents generated by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services will serve as a national template.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify the current gaps in emergency evacuation and transportation of people with disabilities Describe the process conducted by the Working Group to achieve consensus on evacuation and transportation people with disabilities List the documents developed by the working group

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Rita V. Burke, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Research Surgery and Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and the Trauma Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Burke leads all research efforts and provides training in both quantitative and qualitative analysis and evaluation. She has 24 peer-reviewed publications and numerous presentations at local, state and national conferences.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.