When natural disasters and other emergency situations strike, people with disabilities are among the most vulnerable. Disability acts as a multiplier, intensifying risk from both natural and human forces. People with disabilities often cannot evacuate on their own, or they struggle to carry life-preserving medical equipment with them.
Thanks to a robust Emergency Operations Plan designed by several student interns from the Emergency Services Program, Mosaic is ready to meet the needs of the people it serves in emergency situations. Mosaic is a faith-based organization in Omaha serving people with intellectual disabilities.
The 126-page plan, the result of months of work by Jennifer Miller, Kain Martin, Kevin Wendt, Monica Rivera and their instructor Tyler Davis, meets federal regulatory requirements, is scalable, and can easily be adapted for Mosaic’s 37 agencies.
The timing of the project’s completion could not have been better, as many of the nation’s healthcare providers, including Mosaic, were up against a tight Nov. 15 deadline to implement new requirements from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that standardize emergency response.
“The value is over $100,000 just in plan creation and does not account for CMS reimbursements that Mosaic will continue to qualify for,” Davis said.
To create the plan, the student intern team referred to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Comprehensive Preparedness Guide and resources from the Department of Health and Human Services.
“We wanted to use a national recipe. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. We also went out and did the research and asked the questions,” Davis said. “We determined who’s in charge during emergencies, where the gaps are, and where improvements are needed. There are a million questions to think through, and the sad thing is there are no solid answers to these questions in the United States.”
Davis believes Mosaic can champion change in this realm of emergency management.
“If a strong organization like Mosaic is dedicated to driving the conversation forward and asking questions about life safety for people with disabilities, people will answer. Organizations like Mosaic need to be part of the training process with emergency services. No one else is filling that gap. Experts need to come together to develop best practices because they don’t exist right now.”
The students referred to Chris as a key motivating factor in the construction of the document.”
- Patrick O'Neill, director, Emergency Services Program
At the onset of the project, students in the Emergency Services Program had the opportunity to meet Chris Grimm, who receives services from Mosaic in Omaha, and his mother, Janey. The students cited Chris as their primary inspiration as they crafted the plan.
On Nov. 15, at an event in UNO’s Milo Bail Student Center, the intern team, along with Program Director Patrick O’Neil, awarded Chris an honorary emergency management certificate and thanked him for his role in the project.
Submitted by Taylour Kumpf, Mosiac Marketing and Communications Specialist.
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