Emergency Management Workshop

Focused on: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) – Disabilities, Access, and Functional Needs (DAFN) (AFN)

The Frew Group’s Building Inclusive and Equitable Emergency Management Workshop is the first of its kind – a comprehensive cultural competence skill-building workshop that helps emergency managers and all public safety officials save lives, save money, prevent lawsuits, and ensure no one is left behind.

If your planning and operations are not culturally competent and inclusive, you are at high risk of litigation and of the next emergency becoming a catastrophic tragedy.

The next disaster you face may be inevitable, but the next human tragedy is notThe public safety mission is more successful when service is inclusive, equitable, and trusted. This workshop will enable you, your team, and key stakeholders to take critical steps in understanding your diverse populations, becoming culturally competent, and making trust possible.

The first comprehensive cultural competency training for emergency management

The Frew Group’s Building Inclusive and Equitable Emergency Management Workshop is expertly crafted to guide government agency leaders and key community stakeholders to more equitably and inclusively serve diverse, marginalized at-risk populations in mitigating, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies and disasters. This practical, interactive training program on cultural competency and inclusion will improve team dynamics, planning, operations, communications, and community engagement.



Workshop Overview Table of Contents

Building Inclusive and Equitable Emergency Management Workshop

Historically underserved, marginalized, and disproportionately impacted populations face greater risk and experience more frequent and destructive disaster impacts. 

Climate change is increasing the risk for our diverse populations, including Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), women, immigrants, LGBTQI,  and those with disabilities, access and functional needs (DAFN). After a disaster, they receive less assistance and take longer to recover. 

People are more resilient when their social and cultural needs and values are respected and supported. They recover more quickly when their needs are clearly understood, and they are provided the assistance to which they are entitled. 

This training builds the capacity of government officials, business leaders, and key community stakeholders to examine, understand, and more equitably address their community’s rapidly changing social and hazard risk landscape. 

It prepares emergency managers and others working with public health and safety to reduce social disparities and inclusively serve their community’s richly diverse populations on critical services, including transportation, sheltering, and communications.

Workshop Description

The six-hour practical, interactive, awareness-level workshop with a cultural competency curriculum will help you understand and apply the foundations of diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), accessibility, and cultural competency to emergency management and risk resilience preparedness programs. You will learn about your community’s demographic profile and improve inclusion in your organization’s teams, policies, protocols, service programs, and community outreach. You will be guided through a process to ensure your programs don’t discriminate. 

Workshop Content

Key elements include:

Workshop Goal

Provide participants with the basic concepts and tools of DEI, ADA, cultural competency and guide them through the process of applying them directly to their organization.

Learning Objectives

Participants will gain:

  • Increased skills and knowledge to respond more effectively to the needs of vulnerable populations

  • Foundational knowledge of new federal and state mandates and laws on equity, cultural competence, and accessibility

  • Understanding of culturally competent teams, policies, programs, and service delivery

  • Increased awareness of how unconscious bias impacts individuals, teams, and services

  • Initial work plan to implement new knowledge and skill in the workplace

Workshop Format

This six-hour practical, interactive, awareness-level workshop is based on human-centered design instructional approaches. It includes lecture and PowerPoint presentations, interactive tabletop discussions, interactive exercises, storytelling, read-ahead materials, and course review assessments. 

The workshop is offered as either an on-site or virtual service delivery. Based on the needs of the client, the workshop can be adjusted to present only selected modules and delivered in either a single time period or broken up over two days. The workshop is informed by Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) development theory and protocols.

This one-of-a-kind training is designed and facilitated by nationally recognized experts in emergency management and diversity, equity, and inclusion, who are passionately and deeply experienced in the nuances of challenging issues of social inclusion, particularly populations historically facing systemic barriers.

Who Will Benefit From This Workshop?

  • Emergency Management

  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

  • Law Enforcement

  • Fire Services 

  • Office of Minority Health

  • Community-Based Organizations / Faith-Based Organizations

  • Governmental Administrative 

  • Private Sector/Corporate Security and Safety

  • Public Utilities

  • Public Works

  • Health Care

  • Citizen/Community Volunteer

Instructional Approach

The workshop will be delivered through human-centered design (HCD) instruction, including the use of lively, interactive small group and triad/dyad participant exchanges, group games, exercises, improv and storytelling activities, videos, and lectures. 

Practice Application Accelerator (PAA)

Building upon the early workshop modules, the workshop design will culminate in a module in which the participants will be led to actively apply the key tools, concepts, and approaches learned to their own individual areas of the program responsibility.

Virtual Offering

The online workshop offering builds upon a variety of learning approaches, innovative tools, and interactive exercises and activities specifically designed to effectively engage and instruct participants online using the Zoom platform functionalities. Easy-to-use participant workbooks and support guides, and read-ahead guides simplify the online platform to create transparent classroom engagement. An evaluation tool ensures the hosting agency captures the participants’ learning experience and offers recommendations and next steps.


The workshop is led by Suzanne Frew – Emergency Management Consultant and President of  The Frew Group, a Bay Area woman-owned consulting firm specializing in building culturally competent community resilience and emergency management.

Our facilitators bring extensive expertise and several decades of experience working with disproportionately impacted diverse populations and the agencies, organizations, and communities that serve them in disaster risk reduction, response, recovery, and mitigation.

We asked people, "what was the best part of our Cultural Competency Workshop?"

“Working through processes we all experience in our workplaces.”

“Instructors are knowledgeable and passionate.”

“The whole thing.”

“Real-world applicability of topics.”

“Discovering department weaknesses – plus solutions.”

Increasingly critical for all disaster workers

Cultural Competency saves lives, saves money, and saves you from lawsuits.

Cultural Competency is an evidence-based practice that is proven to tangibly improve every phase of disaster risk resilience (DRR), emergency management planning and operations, and communications.

diversity, equity and cultural inclusion | People lining up for shelter at the Superdome in New Orleans

Cutting-edge training designed to build skills you can immediately use in the field.

The value of DEI and cultural competency has long been recognized academically and theoretically, but the nuts and bolts of how to practically operationalize a lens of inclusion in the field have continued to lag behind –  until now.

Emergency Management workshops that use human centered design

Innovative, practical exercises with operational focus.

World-class instructors with decades of experience

Our training specialists have designed, conducted, and evaluated hundreds of capacity-building activities for all levels of government and communities throughout the United States and around the world. 

Suzanne Frew

Suzanne has been helping governments, businesses, and community organizations manage risk, build institutional capacity, and improve communications for over three decades. She has extensive expertise working with leaders of culturally diverse communities to build cultural competency and inclusive policies, procedures, and practices grounded in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

She specializes in applying innovative approaches of design thinking, serious gaming, storytelling and cross cultural communications to resilience and recovery planning, training and exercises, and communications outreach and engagement.

A passionate public speaker and adjunct instructor on social media, leadership, and community resilience for the University of Hawaii’s National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC), Suzanne is a contributing author to four disaster resilience books and has written numerous professional articles. She works throughout the United States, Southeast Asia, Asia Pacific, Caribbean, and Canada.

Simma Lieberman

Simma, “The Inclusionist,” helps leaders build inclusive workplace cultures that last from start-up to scale.

Simma has created environments where employees love to do their best work for over 27 years in her work as a consultant, speaker, and executive advisor.

She received the global diversity and inclusion leadership award from the World HRD Council in Mumbai in 2017 and was recognized as a leader in culture change by Corporate Visions Magazine.

Simma is known for her unique ability to bring people together from different backgrounds to dialogue and find new ways to collaborate.

The Frew Group Logo - Cultural Competency in Emergency Management consulting firm

The Frew Group is a Bay Area woman-owned consulting firm specializing in building culturally competent community resilience and emergency management. We bring extensive expertise and decades of experience working with agencies, organizations, and communities to more effectively address their unique, rapidly expanding, multi-cultural challenges in disaster risk reduction and recovery.

Cultural Competency Workshop
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To help you find answers to common questions about our Cultural Competency Workshops, we’ve compiled a list of the questions we’re most often asked to help you get instant answers. 

Is Cultural Competency Training right for my community?

Yes. The nature of Cultural Competency is that it will work for every team in every community.

Do we need Cultural Competency Training if we don’t have a very racially diverse population?

Yes, while your community may be racially homogenous, no community is culturally homogenous because culture is about more than race or ethnicity.

There’s a difference between racially diverse and culturally diverse. Every community is culturally diverse.

Is Cultural Competency the same as diversity training?

No. Often times diversity or awareness trainings focus on acknowledging that uniqueness or diversity exists and those differences should be valued, but that’s where they stop. Research shows that these trainings don’t go far enough, and that diversity falls short without inclusion.

Cultural Competency is a skill-based training that teaches you a comprehensive process for how to more effectively understand, communicate, collaborate, and include someone who differs from you.

The other main difference is that diversity training is internal to a team. Cultural Competency is outward-facing, focused on the community or people you serve (though it does also have internal team benefits!).

Who needs Cultural Competency Training?

As one participant said, “this should be mandatory for all county staff as disaster workers.”

Our workshop is ideal for any safety official, key stakeholders, partners, and community members.

How many participants can we have in the workshop?

Due to the need for personalized interaction between our instructors and the participants, we can have up to 30 people per workshop.

We are happy to offer discounts for repeat deliveries/multiple dates if you have a higher number of people you would like to receive this training.

How much time does the workshop take?

The workshop length can vary based on your audience and needs because we believe in building customized client-driven strategies. Generally speaking, to maximize engagement, our standard workshop is best delivered over two days in 3-4 hour sessions.

Is this workshop as effective and engaging in an online format?

Yes, our online workshop was designed to give you as much value as in-person, with the same experiences and takeaways as in-person. In fact, there are added benefits to online delivery!

  •  Cost-effective, reduced overall costs. Less than in-person.
  • Train anytime, anywhere. Your work is important, keep your focus by training when it’s convenient. Can train on phone, tablet, or computer.
  • Our system is designed to make learning easy regardless of technical ability.
  • Zoom helps equalize participants.
  • Online anonymity can make people more comfortable asking uncomfortable questions, which research shows is necessary to be able to do for cultural competency growth.

Can I apply this training to my Continuing Education credit or unit requirements?

In most cases yes. We give you the certificate of completion and the materials you need to get credits or units for Continuing Education requirements.

Is Cultural Competency Training affordable?

We can customize the training to your needs, capabilities, and budget. But long term, this workshop is something you can’t afford to not do.

You’re going to save so much more money and time in the long term, that this is an investment you need to make now.

Do we need Cultural Competency Training now?

In real estate they say the three rules are location, location, location – when dealing with disasters, the three rules are timing, timing, and timing.

We can’t help you be prepared for a disaster once it has already hit, by then it’s too late and the damage is done. The time to act is now.

Emergency Management Workshop - Cultural Competency

The Frew Group’s Building Inclusive and Equitable Emergency Management Workshop is the first of its kind for community leaders in Emergency Services.

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