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March 12, 2009                                                   

Contact: Michele Roseman
Phone:   301- 589-3786 or
E-mail:   [email protected]
The Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network (CEPIN) received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop and launch a unique, Web based training for special needs populations and emergency managers. The CEPIN self-paced training will: increase public awareness about challenges that people with special needs face during disasters; examine gaps in emergency plans that serve the special needs population; and start the dialogue needed to develop mutual understanding and respect between the special needs and emergency management communities.

The CEPIN training reflects FEMA's current definition of the "special needs" population. The original definition only referred to people with physical or mental disabilities. FEMA's new definition is expanded to include all people whose functional needs are jeopardized during times of disaster.

"The training will be valuable to emergency managers and the special needs population,"  Neil McDevitt, the Program Director of CEPIN said. "Emergency management and special needs communities need to work together before and during times of crises. Without collaboration, both groups will not know or be able to share their expectations in the face of disaster. The CEPIN training will set the stage for the communities' resources to be discovered and accessed before they are needed."

Participants who take the CEPIN course will be prepared to:
- Understand the importance of collaboration between emergency management and special needs populations as part of preparedness and response activities.

- Understand how to collaborate effectively with emergency managers or special needs populations.

- Understand the elements or steps needed to prepare for and respond to a variety of emergency situations involving special needs populations.

- Understand and network with the local, state, and national (public and private) resources that are available for response to emergency and disaster response situations that includes special needs populations.
CEPIN's Web-based training is being developed with the help of subject matter experts from other organizations. Training pilots are expected to begin Spring 2009 and CEPIN anticipates launching the course in late Fall 2009.
About CEPIN:
The CEPIN Project is coordinated by Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI).   The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has awarded TDI nearly $3 million to develop model community education programs for emergency responders and special needs populations.   For more information about CEPIN, visit
This program is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 2007-GT-T7-K006, administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FEMA; National Preparedness Directorate; Training Operations. Points of view or opinions in this program are those of the author(s) and do not represent the position or policies of the Department of Homeland Security; FEMA.

About TDI:
TDI is a consumer advocacy organization that provides leadership in achieving equal access to telecommunications, media, and information technologies for 31 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. TDI publishes the TDI World quarterly magazine and the annual TDI National Directory & Resource Guide, also known as the Blue Book. For more information on supporting TDI's work or to become a member, please go to

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