Community Inclusion in Colorado

Back to emergency preparedness and response

At the center of any disaster is the community surviving it. All emergency preparedness and response roles exist to protect and support the lives of people in Colorado. Therefore, our systems must be responsive to the diversity of ALL Colorado’s people. Planners and responders must consider the differences in how people communicate, move around, maintain their health and independence, use services and support to live their daily lives. Emergency systems should adapt and improve based on who lives in their community and where.


Vulnerable Populations Community Inclusion

The label “vulnerable,” when applied to a population or community group, can be disempowering.  It can imply a weakness that nothing can change, when very often that population is actively solving the challenges and disconnects they experience because of gaps in our service systems. We need the whole community to collaborate for emergency preparedness and response. A more resilient approach includes all people as experts in knowing how to best meet their own needs - community inclusion instead of vulnerable populations.


Access and Functional Needs 

“Access and Functional Needs” is a term and framework that is helping to promote inclusive emergency preparedness and response. Instead of identifying vulnerable groups, the access and functional needs approach suggests that there are functions and access that everyone needs in emergencies, regardless of who we are.  We should build our systems to support everyone achieve these functions and access.

The CMIST acronym offers a broad set of common, cross-cutting, function-based and access-based needs irrespective of specific diagnoses, statuses, or labels.  Those functions are:

  • C - Communication
  • M- Maintaining Health,
  • I - Independence,
  • S- Support/Services/Self-Determination
  • T-  Transportation

Read more about CMIST framework: Moving beyond “special needs” A function-based framework for emergency management and planning via The Journal of Disability Policy Studies 

Additionally, Isolation and Economics are two influencers that impact all 5 of the CMIST functions.


Colorado Community Inclusion Maps (CICOmaps)

The Community Inclusion in Colorado maps (CICOmaps) were created by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and University of Colorado Assistive Technology Partners to enhance current emergency preparedness and response planning and resources by making location-based community information easy-to-access. The maps include community demographics and functional characteristics at the census-track (sub-county) level. They include the locations, service areas, and phone numbers of community providers and health care facilities. They have also been updated to include electricity-dependent Medicare beneficiaries data from the Federal HHS emPOWER maps. 

The CICOmaps help emergency planners and responders think about diversity of who lives in their communities, and how to make emergency systems work for the WHOLE Colorado Community.   

Visit the Maps

Online CICOmaps webinar

2016 Colorado Regional Opportunity Index Report and Poster

In 2015, the Colorado Community Inclusion Maps were identified as a “Promising Practice” for emergency management inclusive of people with disabilities by FEMA and the ADA’s National Network. Access the webinar and resources. Learn more via the Poster Presentation shared at the 2015 NACCHO Preparedness Summit. 


Colorado Community Inclusion and Health Workgroup

The Colorado Community Inclusion and Health in Disasters Workgroup aims to support inclusive emergency preparedness and response through relationships between community leaders and traditional emergency partners.  The aim is to build a network and promote problem-solving that improves our ability to care of ALL Coloradans health and well-being during disasters. Workgroup meeting outcomes, resources and documents


Community Inclusion Exercise Resources

Exercises are an excellent way to test our abilities to incorporate access and functional needs considerations into emergency response operations. This page provides resources for incorporating community inclusion aspects into the planning, execution, and evaluation of emergency response exercises.