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Emergency Experience

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June Isaacson Kailes (http://www.jik.com) consulting, writing and training focus on building actionable disability competencies, capabilities and capacities in health care and emergency management to ensure people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs are included in service delivery processes, protocols, policies, audits, exercises and training. June works with organizations to translate the laws, regulations, case law and guidance into practical tools and operating procedures that close service gaps, prevent civil rights violations, and deliver equally effective services. She concentrates on the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” to achieve physical, programmatic, communication, and equipment access.

June is one of just a handful of people with disabilities who focused on disability related emergency issues decades before Hurricane Katrina.  As far back as the 1970s and 80s, June documented the deep and dramatic lack of equal and inclusionary emergency services for people with disabilities.

June has over four decades of emergency experience and works internationally, as well as with local, state, and federal governments, and with community-based organizations. Her breadth and depth of experience in access and functional needs, and her work as a writer, trainer, researcher, policy analyst, advocate, subject matter expert and expert witness is widely known and respected. She has the unique ability to blend and bridge two worlds: disability lived experiences and emergency management experience.

She has worked nationally with FEMA, the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services on policy, planning, and training issues. She co-chaired The United States Department of Homeland Security’s working group which developed a Functional and Medical Support Sheltering Target Capabilities List, worked on FEMA's Guidance on Planning for Integration of Functional Needs Support Services in General Population  Shelters and is a member of FEMA's National Advisory Council.

In the emergency management world, June is a pioneer, leader, and innovator. Seven examples of her impact and influence include:

1. Two widely used and cited after action reports:  “Southern California Wildfires After Action Report” and Getting It Wrong: An Indictment with a Blueprint for Getting It Right, Disability Rights, Obligations and Responsibilities Before, During and After Disasters.

2. Developing inclusive emergency management plans that emphasize and incorporate standard operating procedures, field operation guides, just in time checklists, and exercises.  

3. 3. Conceiving, promoting, and moving the emergency management world from the vague “special needs” focus to operationalizing an access and functional needs approach to planning and response. This fosters a clearer understanding of who is included in the large numbers and diversity of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. June’s CMIST is a memory tool that helps you remember and plan for the five functional needs that individuals will likely have in an emergency: communication; maintaining health; independence; support, safety, and self-determination; and transportation.

CMIST offers clarity, precision, and specificity for building competencies to inclusive planning and service practices. Emergency plans based on optimizing function rather than “specialness” increases the chance of successful accommodation of predictable needs. In emergencies, people with disabilities continue to lose their health, their independence, and sometimes their lives. This is because over decades, information transfer regarding these predictable needs, and lessons observed, relayed, and documented, are not integrated into plans, policies, procedures, training, and exercises. June’s work focuses on consistently and repeatedly applying these lessons so that they can be eventually claimed as lessons learned.

4.   4. Originating and working with the State of California to adopt and implement the use of Functional Assessment Service Teams (FAST). These teams strategically link government, nonprofit, and business sectors to work with individuals with access and functional needs to enable people to maintain mobility, health, safety, independence, during and after emergencies. Teams blend the competencies and skill sets of governments with those of community disability services and help to retool interventions that reflected old, but still common, stigmatizing biases, stereotypes and beliefs about people with disabilities. Versions of this model are being put into practice in California and other states and counties.

5.   5. Documenting the critical need to accurately evaluate the use of emergency registries to avoid symbolic planning (i.e., planning which cannot be fully operationalized to achieve even the most well-intentioned objectives) and think through the implications of using a registry as the sole or primary answer to addressing access and functional needs in emergencies.

June publishes extensively, and some of her frequently used and cited publications include:

Planning and response:


As a critical thinker and lifelong learner, she never hesitates to critic and revise her prior work. June believes the emergency sector’s performance depends on resilience and flexibility to evolve as economic, learning, technology, legal, and social landscapes change.

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Available on request CV / Resume which includes updates for:

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Created 11/8/97  |  Updated  09.8.19