Dawn Brantley, owner and founder of Inclusive Emergency Management Consulting (IEMC), is a Certified Emergency Manager (IAEM CEM) and certified ADA coordinator (ADAC) with experience in emergency management, planning, and response at the local, regional, state, and federal levels. Below is an interactive resume for Ms. Brantley to go beyond just a list of accomplishments and responsibilities. Anything that can be provided publicly and is still available to share has been linked or the document provided to validate and provide examples of her work. Click here to view Ms. Brantley’s Linked In profile. Click here for a pdf download of this comprehensive resume.

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Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Sheltering Coordinator

April 2015 – Present

Acting Director of External Affairs

Sept 2016 – Feb 2017
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive, statewide sheltering plan that effectively and efficiently utilizes state staff and resources to enhance and augment local-level sheltering and integrates with local sheltering plans.
  • Coordinate the Commonwealth’s sheltering response capabilities with 138 local governments, state and federal agencies, private entities, non-profit organizations and community organizations in the event of evacuation due to natural or man-made disasters.
  • Lead VDEM’s access and functional needs activities and programs.
  • Revise, maintain, and implement, when necessary, the family assistance center plan for support of mass casualty and mass fatality events.
  • Develop the state’s household pet sheltering plan and capabilities and coordinate the Commonwealth’s pet sheltering response during disaster response operations.
  • Conduct assessments of shelters concerning their ability to meet the needs of pets.
  • Provide support and technical assistance to localities for planning, training, exercise, and guidance on federal regulations related to disability inclusion and disaster sheltering.
  • Coordinate the assessment and evaluation of local shelters to identify each building’s ability to safely serve as a shelter across the continuum of wind and water forces associated with tropical storm through a category four hurricane.
  • Identify legal and liability issues to be addressed through policy or state and local code amendments in order to improve the Commonwealth’s sheltering preparedness.
  • Provide resources and assess shelters for accessibility and inclusiveness in order to meet the needs of all citizens, with particular emphasis given to those with access and functional needs.

Serve as Human Services Branch Director during disasters impacting Virginia

  • Supervise and coordinate the activities of up to 20 Virginia Emergency Support Team members from various state agencies and non-profit organizations.
  • Ensure proper and timely response operations in the areas of volunteers and donations, public health, mass care, housing, and human services.
  • Facilitate daily mass care coordination calls with impacted regions and state mass care partner agencies to ensure efficient support of local sheltering operations.
  • Facilitate daily disability partner calls to engage disability service agencies and organizations in response and recovery, to identify potential areas of concern, collaboratively problem solve issues that arrive, and to receive guidance on messaging needs.

Plan Review and Development

  • Coordinate the review all state and targeted local shelter plans including all relevant reports and data collection compiled in the past 8 years to create a crosswalk that identifies gaps, conflict, concurrences and opportunities for enhancement.
  • Develop a master planning process that coordinates between sheltering in place, disaster shelters, refuges of last resort, and state managed shelter or another state-level sheltering program. Part of this planning process was conducting a series of 13 sessions across the Commonwealth with local emergency management, emergency management stakeholders, disability organizations, and other community stakeholders. Click here for the summary report on those sessions.

Policy and Legislative Reporting

  • Annually provide a status report on the Commonwealth’s emergency shelter capabilities and readiness to the State Coordinator and the General Assembly of Virginia. Click here for the 2016 reportClick here for the 2015 report.
  • Identify and recommend policy and legislative activities that would improve local and state sheltering preparedness efforts.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Disability Integration Advisor, Reservist

June 2014 – July 2016
  • Supported recovery operations in northern Mississippi following December 2015 storms that brought tornadoes, flooding and straight line winds. Worked with state and local agencies and community organizations to ensure inclusion of individuals with disabilities in disaster recovery. Worked to identify individuals with disabilities in rural areas to ensure they receive disaster assistance.
  • Participate as part of a team in facility site evaluation for Disaster Recovery Centers within 48 hours of a validated State’s request.
  • Work collaboratively with and provide guidance to FEMA’s External Affairs, Community Relations, Individual Assistance, Recovery and other program areas that interface with the community.
  • Provide guidance for State and local governmental agencies to assist with ensuring people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs have equal access to programs and services.
  • In collaboration with the Support Services Branch or designee, provide guidance & technical assistance to Individual Assistance, IT and Logistics staff to establish accessibility at Disaster Recovery Center locations.
  • Advise Support Services Branch and Equal Rights Advisors in the identification and evaluation of disability laws and regulations as they relate to space compliance in the various field locations.
  • Work with various entities to insure all of FEMA’s programs and services meet the needs of individuals, agency priorities and policies, as well as federal laws and guidelines.
  • Collaborate with disability community members, advocates, and service organizations to meet the needs of survivors affected by a disaster. Act as a liaison with community members and FEMA programs to address survivor needs.
  • Work with Voluntary Agency Liaisons in support of long term recovery efforts.
  • Provide guidance and technical assistance to the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator, National Recovery Coordination Office and participating agencies. Participate in the National Disaster Recovery Framework when necessary.
  • Construct and maintain a local advocacy and services network.
  • Provide guidance regarding physical, programmatic, and effective communication access in all phases of emergency response, recovery, mitigation and preparedness.

Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Regional Inclusive Emergency Planner  

March 2013 – April 2015

Inclusive emergency planning

  • Supported and provided guidance and technical assistance on disability inclusive emergency planning to 17 coastal Virginia localities with a population of over 1.8 million residents and 22 military installations.
  • Analyzed the Judge’s Opinion and Order in class action complaint against the City of New York for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehab Act. Provided a summary of the Judge’s Opinion and Order in the NYC class action lawsuit specific to Hampton Roads to all member jurisdictions for their use in local emergency planning.
  • Developed tools and guidance for use by regional stakeholders on inclusive emergency planning and disaster response.
  • Coordinated with and engaged the medical community and the Eastern Virginia Healthcare Coalition to enhance regional public health, medical surge, and mass casualty capabilities.
  • Conducted specialized research and planning in medical, disability, functional, and access needs populations to identify and implement best practices to meet the region’s inclusive planning needs. Click here for an example of work done on identifying disability, LEP, and transportation-dependent populations in 17 localities.
  • Addressed critical planning needs as they arose within the region including research, analysis, and presentation of results.
  • Supported and advocated for regional, specialized planning with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), the Office of the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Virginia Department of Social Services and other public and private agencies to enhance integrated, regional inclusive planning.
  • Conducted reviews, upon request, of member jurisdictions’ emergency plans for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Department of Justice regulations, other applicable state and federal regulations and provided guidance and recognized best practices for inclusive emergency planning.
  • Coordinated training and outreach for emergency management stakeholders and community groups on inclusive emergency planning and disaster response including development and delivery of:
    • A joint functional needs support services training with the American Red Cross of Southeast Virginia and the Hampton Roads Metropolitan Medical Response System.
    • A joint training with the Hampton Roads Metropolitan Medical Response System on the Hampton Roads Shelter Support Unit supply trailers including creation of a just-in-time training video for distribution to all Hampton Roads localities.
  • Coordinated the annual Healthcare Organizations Emergency Preparedness Seminar which brought together long term care providers for training in emergency preparedness and response.

Hampton Roads Special Needs Registry and HIPAA compliance program

  • Maintained the region’s registry program for individuals with disabilities and medical needs.
  • Worked with the Hampton Roads Planing District Commission’s (HRPDC) legal counsel to evaluate the HRPDC’s status as a business associate under HIPAA regulations.
  • Worked with a contractor, Gwen Hughes, Hughes Virtual Privacy Office, to bring the HRPDC into compliance with HIPAA and the Hi Tech Security Act.
  • Conducted an evaluation of the impact of the HIPAA Omnibus Rule on member jurisdictions and provided advice and guidance on continuation of the registry program.
  • Conducted the discontinuation of the disaster registry program including coordinating the discontinuation with impacted localities, related public information activities, and ensuring compliant destruction of all personally identifiable health data.

Ready Hampton Roads Regional Public Information Program

  • Drafted the Ready Hampton Roads Regional Framework for the Hampton Roads Regional Catastrophic Planning Grant Program to establish a regional framework for coordinating public information before, during and after a disaster.
  • Initiated and managed the redesign of the Ready Hampton Roads website including grant management. In addition to the public-facing pages, the website included a secure site for online collaboration between member jurisdictions and partner agencies and organizations.
  • Created a regional, virtual joint information center (vJIC) to facilitate coordination and collaboration of regional emergency messaging. Determined required capabilities, drafted a framework for use including recommendations for staffing, policies, procedures, activation and use of the vJIC. This program was recognized as a recommended practice in the Governors In Season Review of Hurricane Preparedness for Hampton Roads in 2014 (page 13 of document, page 16 of file).
  • Created the Disability Information and Alert Network (DIAN) Program. The DIAN program is a program to effectively disseminate information to individuals with disabilities thru existing service agencies and organizations before, during and after a disaster. This program was recognized as a recommended practice in the Governors In Season Review of Hurricane Preparedness for Hampton Roads in 2014 (page 13 of document, page 16 of file).
  • Partnered with Cox Communications to create a first-of-its-kind, on-demand cable channel for emergency preparedness, the ReadyHR Channel, and marketing video for ReadyHR.
  • Partnered with Cox Communications to create an emergency preparedness video titled, “Do These 9 Things” with closed captions, Spanish language subtitles, and ASL interpretation.
  • Developed and implemented a social media strategy for Ready Hampton Roads ensuring compliance with accessibility requirements for communications.
  • Served as the public information officer for Ready Hampton Roads including the public outreach and education program, accessibility and effective communications compliance, and serving as the Ready Hampton Roads liaison to the regional stakeholders and media.

Anchorage Office of Emergency Management

Emergency Programs Manager      

May 2011 – March 2013

Community Preparedness Coordinator & Public Information Officer

May 2009 – May 2011


January 2009 – May 2009
Emergency planning responsibility for the areas of:
  • Mass sheltering
  • Alert & warning
  • Access and functional needs
  • Health & medical
  • Behavioral health
  • Air quality
  • Volunteer management
  • Public information & Joint Information Center
  • Mass feeding
  • Mass casualty

Planning and development of programs to ensure inclusion of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs in emergency response operations, public information, and outreach:

  • Revised the Mass Sheltering EOP Annex through an interagency working group to ensure inclusion of unaccompanied minors, medically fragile individuals, and individuals with disabilities and others with functional and access needs.
  • Established the Functional Needs Support Services working group to engage social and disability service agencies in planning and program development.
  • Revised the disaster registry program to ensure legal compliance and improve both effectiveness and execution of the program.
  • Created a volunteer program (Functional and Access Needs Support Teams) to assist the American Red Cross in sheltering operations and Anchor Rides, Anchorage’s paratransit provider, with evacuations.
  • Worked with Access Alaska, Alaska’s Center for Independent Living, and the Alaska Division of Health and Human Services on an emergency preparedness video done entirely in ASL for those who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

Developed and maintained internal and external partnerships for emergency operations planning, community preparedness outreach, education and training:

  • Established the Emergency Operations Plan Mass Sheltering Annex working group, a partnership with the American Red Cross of Alaska, Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) Department of Health and Human Services, and Access Alaska Center for Independent Living to develop a comprehensive sheltering plan for a community of over 260,000.
  • Through a partnership with Anchorage Public Libraries, North American Outdoor Institute, Eagle Enterprises, and other community groups, planned and coordinated the Annual Safe & Sound National Preparedness Month activities including an emergency preparedness fair that involved more than 30 organizations & educates an average of 1,500 residents a year.
  • Partnered with the CDC, Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services, Anchorage Public Libraries, and the University of Alaska Anchorage Public Health program to accomplish the 2012 Zombie Preparedness Month, a fun, educational month of emergency preparedness activities.
  • Partnered with Alaska 2-1-1 to create, implement and exercise the processes and procedures for a 2-1-1 Disaster Call Center for public inquiries.

Program management for multiple, ongoing emergency response programs including:

Managed & coordinated media relations:

  • Served as the Public Information Officer with duties to include media interviews, press releases, and press conferences.
  • Maintained media distribution list and Emergency Public Information Network list.
  • Coordinated and disseminated information during disaster events through news media, social media, and grass roots efforts.
  • Coordinated and disseminated public information pre-disaster through news media, social media and community outreach and education.

Developed and implemented outreach and public education strategies and programs:

  • Redesigned Anchorage’s Emergency Watch neighborhood preparedness program tools, marketing and training, resulting in expansion of the program from 6 neighborhoods to 41 neighborhoods in 12 months.
  • Created a monthly brown bag lunch series that educated more than 600 residents over 18 months on various emergency preparedness topics.
  • Served for four years as event planner and coordinator for Anchorage’s annual emergency preparedness fair that reached over 1,000 people a year.
  • Created Anchorage’s first Zombie Preparedness Month campaign and served as the event coordinator for all activities including the key event, the Zombie Haunted Scavenger Hunt, which educated over 760 residents of all ages and involved more than 90 volunteers and multiple response agencies, including FEMA and the CDC. This campaign reached more than 10,000 people in one month and included a series of events, fictitious educational news reports, a television PSA, and a social media campaign.

 Developed public information policies & procedures:

  • Responsible for the creation of standard operating procedures for the Anchorage Emergency Operations Center public information section.
  • Responsible for the maintenance and implementation of the Emergency Public Information plan.
  • Established processes and procedures for coordinating public information with the 2-1-1 Call Center during Anchorage Emergency Operations Center activations.
  • Created a Public Information Officer Resource book for Anchorage Emergency Operations Center public information officers.

Additional accomplishments and recognition:


University of Alaska Anchorage

Anchorage, AK
  • Human Services, 2010
  • Psychology, 2011


  • Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society
  • Psi Chi International Psychology Honor Society

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Saint Paul, MN
  • Juris Doctor, anticipated graduation 05/2020
  • Academic scholarship recipient


Professional Service



Speaking Engagements

Operational Experience

Mount Redoubt eruption

March 22, 2009, Anchorage, AK

Lead Public Information Officer

Straight-line windstorm

September 5, 2012, Anchorage, AK

Lead Public Information Officer, Emergency Manager

Apartment complex fires with evacuation and sheltering

January 3 and 10, 2013, Anchorage, AK

Lead Public Information Officer, Emergency Manager

Papal Visit and International UCI Road World Championships Bike Race (Special Security Events)

September 19-27, 2015, Richmond, VA and Northern Virginia region

Human Services Branch Director

Hurricane Joaquin

September 28 – October 15, 2015, Richmond, VA

Human Services Branch Director, Disability Integration Coordinator

Winter Storm Jonas*

January 21-29, 2016, Richmond, VA

Human Services Branch Director, Disability Integration Coordinator

*Presidential Disaster Declaration, Public assistance

Mississippi Tornadoes (Recovery operations)*

February 4-29, 2016, Oxford, MS

FEMA Disability Integration Advisor

*Presidential Disaster Declaration, Public assistance and individual assistance

Series of Eight Tornadoes*

February 24 – March 30, 2016, Across Virginia

Human Services Branch Director, Disability Integration Coordinator, Disaster Recovery Housing Task Force Coordinator

*Presidential Disaster Declaration, Public assistance

2016 Election Day (Special Security Event)

November 8, 2016, Richmond, VA

Human Services Branch Director, Chief  of External Affairs

Hurricane Matthew*

September 28, 2016-January 3, 2017, Hampton Roads, VA

Human Services Branch Director, Chief of External Affairs, Disability Integration Coordinator

*Presidential Disaster Declaration, Public assistance and individual assistance

Winter Storm Helena

January 3-7, 2017, Richmond, VA

Chief of External Affairs, Disability Integration Coordinator 

Inauguration (Special Security Event)

January 20, 2017, Northern Virginia region

Chief of External Affairs 

Winter Storm Stella

March 12-15, 2017, Richmond, VA

Joint Information Center Manager, Disability Integration Coordinator