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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee Represented at Hampton Roads Getting It Right Conference!

Hampton Roads Getting It Right Conference - Conference Ballroom with AttendeesPortlight Strategies, a non-profit organization in Charleston, South Carolina, provides disaster relief to individuals with disabilities in emergencies as well as training and technical assistance to emergency managers. NCIL and Portlight Strategies are partners (through a Memorandum of Understanding), in training and disaster preparedness and relief to Centers for Independent Living and individuals with disabilities affected by disaster.

On February 24 and 25, Portlight, in conjunction with the Hampton Roads Catastrophic Planning Team, hosted their fourth “Getting It Right” conference and training seminar in Hampton Roads/Newport News. NCIL was represented by Christy Dunaway, Chairperson of the Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee for NCIL. The conference hosted over 250 individuals in the field of emergency management. States represented included Virginia, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Texas, the District of Columbia, and more.

Emergency Managers heard from experts in the field of disaster preparedness as it relates to individuals with disabilities. Speakers for this two day event included:

  • Susan Dooha, Executive Director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York (CIDNY);
  • Sid Wolinsky, Director of Litigation at Disability Rights Advocates;
  • Janet Schumacher, ADA Coordinator for the City of Charleston;
  • Cathie Hutchins, Virginia Senior Assistant Attorney General;
  • Marcie Roth, Office of Disability Integration and Coordination for the Department of Homeland Security / FEMA;
  • Mary Casey-Lockyer and Raymond Jablonka, American Red Cross; and
  • June Isaacson Kailes, Disability Policy Consultant.

A panel discussion was led by leaders in the field of emergency management and individuals with disabilities including Paul Timmons of Portlight Strategies and Christy Dunaway, Chair of NCIL’s Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee.

During the conference, guests and participants experienced winter storm weather when over eight inches of snow fell on the evening of the second day, causing the conference to end a few hours earlier than planned so that the emergency managers could go do what they do best!

More Getting It Right seminars are scheduled for 2015. NCIL will be represented! For more information visit or

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