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Emergency Experience

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June Kailes (she, her)  smiling, wearing a red jacket, graying hair

June is well known for her pioneering work. She was part of less than a handful of people with disabilities who focused on emergency issues decades before Hurricane Katrina. As far back as the 1970s and 80s, June documented the profound and dramatic lack of equal and inclusionary emergency services for people with disabilities.

She has worked nationally with FEMA, the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services on policy, planning, and training issues. For example, 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 was a nine year member of FEMA’s National Advisory Council.

Examples of her impact and influence in emergency services 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. Conceiving, promoting, and moving the emergency management from the vague “special needs” focus to operationalizing an access and functional needs approach to planning, response, and recovery. 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 to 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 inclusive planning and service practices. Emergency plans based on optimizing function rather than “specialness” increase the chance of accommodating predictable needs successfully.

4.   Originating and working with the State of California to adopt and implement Functional Assistance Service Teams (FAST). These teams strategically link government, disability-led, and disability-focused organizations, and business sectors to work with individuals with access and functional needs to help people maintain mobility, health, safety, independence during and after emergencies. Teams blend the competencies and skillsets of governments with community disability service workers. Teams help retool interventions that reflect old, but still common, stigmatizing biases, stereotypes, and beliefs about people with disabilities. Variations of this model are being customized put into practice in other states and counties.

5.  Documenting the critical need to accurately evaluate the use of emergency registries and to avoid symbolic planning (i.e., planning that cannot be fully operationalized to achieve even the most well-intentioned objectives.)

Some of June's often used and cited publications include:

Planning and response:


In emergencies, people with disabilities continue to lose their health, independence, and sometimes their lives. This loss is because information transfer regarding these predictable needs over decades, 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 to be eventually claimed as lessons learned.

June believes the emergency sector’s performance depends on resilience and flexibility to evolve as economic, learning, technology, legal, and social landscapes change. As a critical thinker and lifelong learner, she never hesitates to critic and revise her work, so check http://www.jik.com/mrp.html for current editions of her materials. 

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Available on request CV / Resume which includes updates for:

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Created 11/8/97  |  Updated  1.2.22