No two disasters are ever the same; yet virtually all incidents disproportionately affect individuals with access and functional needs (AFN) (i.e. people with disabilities, older adults, children, limited English proficiency, and transportation disadvantaged). Understanding this harsh reality, in 2008 California established the Office of Access and Functional Needs (OAFN) within the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
The purpose of OAFN is to identify the needs of individuals with disabilities and others with access or functional needs before, during, and after disasters and to integrate them into the State’s emergency management systems.
OAFN utilizes a whole community approach by offering training and guidance to emergency managers and planners, disability advocates and other service providers responsible for planning for, responding to and helping communities recover from disasters. In short, OAFN plans for the realities of disasters by integrating access and functional needs into everything Cal OES does including partnership development, outreach, training, guidance and providing technical assistance.
To learn more about Cal OES’s OAFN Chief, listen to the “All Hazards” Podcast where Shawn Boyd and Vance Taylor discuss how Vance’s determination, experience and mom’s words of wisdom have helped him excel in the world of emergency management and ensuring the needs of individuals with access and/or functional needs are identified before, during and after a disaster and then integrated within the state’s emergency management systems.