Graduation Date

Fall 2017

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

Yvonne Everett

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Elizabeth Watson

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environment and Community


Shortfalls in emergency mitigation, planning, response and recovery for people with disabilities have frequently resulted in increased negative impact for these individuals ranging from a loss of essential services to preventable injury and death. The purpose of this project was to identify the gaps in planning for individuals with developmental disabilities and their service providers in Humboldt County, California, and close these gaps by providing outreach, education, and emergency engagement plans for these individuals and members of their support teams. This project used a mixed-method approach, including questionnaires and feedback forms, informal interviews, workshops, and examples of on-site planning specific to the needs of the individuals involved. Secondary information was drawn from federal, state local and regional agencies and coalitions. The goals of this project were to reduce or eliminate the risk of death or injury, expedite appropriate response and recovery efforts, and ensure continuity of services for Humboldt County’s developmentally disabled residents in the event of a major disaster by providing pertinent information and resources to those who support them. It also suggests guidelines for creating site-specific and individual-specific Emergency Engagement Plans for these same individuals and their service providers, in addition to business continuity plans for those who are vendored with the Redwood Coast Regional Center to provide essential services, thus increasing community resiliency as a whole. As a result of this project, a seventeen-item list of key recommendations was developed and submitted to the Redwood Coast Regional Center to be used as a guide in assisting service providers in filling gaps in the emergency planning process. In addition, four sessions of two-day emergency planning workshops were held in Humboldt, Del Norte, Lake and Mendocino Counties in the following year.

Key Words: hazard, resiliency, disaster, vulnerable population, emergency engagement plan.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location