David Whalen, founder of Disability Awareness Training, has accepted an invitation to the White House for a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA and the Disability Rights Network. The signing will take place on Friday, March 11, 2011 at 3:00pm. FEMA administrator Craig Fugate and Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security on the National Security Staff, Heidi Avery, will show the Obama administration's commitment to emergency preparedness for people with disabilities by signing the MOU with the National Disability Rights Network.

David has developed training addressing emergency management and the proper response to individuals with disabilities. He recently presented at the New York State Emergency Managers Association conference in Syracuse, NY. He has been at Niagara University working on the statewide curriculum development for First Responders, where he is collaborating with disability advocates, parents, service providers, and First Responders to ensure there is proper and precise training for police, fire, and EMS. Some of his current initiatives have a direct link to emergency management.

David chairs the NYS Independent Living Council's emergency preparedness committee and is working through NYSILC on a collaborative effort with Region II and their response to individuals with disabilities in New York City and beyond relative to catastrophic preparedness. He submitted a proposal on behalf of NYSILC for outreach and training in this area.