Emergency Management Workshops:

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Sustainability (IDEAS), and Cultural Competency

Building Cultural Competency for Inclusive Emergency Management in Highly Diverse Communities at Risk

Public Safety Cultural Competency and Skills Development Workshop
The Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Sustainability (IDEAS) workshops are comprehensive Cultural Competence Skill-Building Workshops that help you save lives, save money, prevent lawsuits, and ensure no one is left behind.
Because the next disaster you face may be inevitable, but the next human tragedy is not.

The first comprehensive cultural competency online training for emergency management

The Frew Group’s Cultural Competency Skill-Building Workshop for Emergency Management and Public Safety is expertly crafted to teach you practical approaches to effectively serve your community in mitigating, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies and disasters. This workshop is a practical, highly interactive experience to equip you with takeaway skills that you will use immediately to improve every aspect of your team dynamics, planning, program service, and community engagement.


Trusted training partner of these government agencies and more:

We deliver Cultural Competency Workshops to federal and local government agencies to prepare them for disaster management, social equity, and community resilience.

FBI Workshops and training for cultural competence

Department of Justice – FBI

State of California Workshops for emergency management and training for cultural competence

State of California

Workshops for Department of Homeland Security - FEMA


State of Hawaii Workshops for emergency management and training for cultural competence

State of Hawaii

City of Los Angeles Workshops for emergency management and training for cultural competence

City of Los Angeles

Trusted Emergency Management Partner for the National Urban Area Security Initiative - The Frew Group

National Urban Area Security Initiative

Workshop Overview Table of Contents

Public Safety, Cultural Competency, and Skills Development Workshop

What if you could reach more individuals at risk from hazards without increasing budgetary spending?

As our communities increasingly face greater risk and experience more frequent and destructive disasters due to climate change, historically underserved and disproportionately impacted populations are now at an even greater risk. 

Additionally, after a disaster, they receive less aid and take longer to recover. People are more resilient when their social and cultural needs and values are represented, respected, and supported. People recover more quickly from difficulties and disasters when they are understood. The public safety mission is more successful when service is inclusive, equitable, and trusted.

Workshop Description

Understanding the dynamics of culture and social vulnerability makes a difference — the next wildfire or flood may be inevitable, but the next human tragedy is not.

Culture and inclusive emergency management play a critical role in successfully building resilient communities and recovering from disasters. Creating public safety policies, programs, and communications, delivered by a team grounded in equity and viewed as a trusted partner, better protects and serves a community’s richly diverse populations.

Cultural competence is critical to the successful design, development, and delivery of emergency management programs. Failure to create inclusive programs built upon informed, culturally appropriate approaches and legal requirements is resulting in tragedy, lawsuits, and non-sustainable, poorly devised initiatives that don’t deliver.

This innovative training will strengthen participant understanding and build the capacity of government safety officials and other key stakeholders to create more relevant, culturally and socially inclusive teams, policies, protocols, service programs, and community outreach and engagement.

The ultimate benefit will be stronger, more effective teams that work together to address your community’s rapidly changing social landscape that is vulnerable to growing hazards and risks.

Participants learn about challenges faced by local governments in recent disasters, recent case studies of culturally appropriate practices, lawsuits, and federally mandated frameworks for resilience building and disaster response

Important new national and state legislation and executive orders advancing equity, cultural competency, and ADA compliance related to Disabilities, Access, and Functional Needs (AFN) will be explored and discussed for application to the participant’s agency missions.

New Federal initiatives explored include the 2021 Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government and the Justice40 initiative, aimed at delivering a percentage of Federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized and underserved.

Also discussed will be leading state mandates such as California’s Senate Bill 140, which established a mandate for agencies to address new emergency operating plan updates guidelines for serving a wide range of diverse populations on services including transportation, housing, and communications. Lessons learned from the Covid-19 response will inform the discussion as well.

This one-of-a-kind training is based on human-centered design instructional approaches. It includes lecture and PowerPoint presentations, interactive tabletop discussions, highly interactive exercises, improv, and storytelling. Participants will be provided read-ahead materials and course review assessments. The workshop is offered as either an on-site or virtual service delivery.

The workshop 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.

Learning Objectives

Participants will leave Building Cultural Competency for Inclusive Emergency Management and Community Risk Resilience Workshop with:

  • Increased skills and knowledge to respond more effectively to the needs of people who often are at higher risk of hazard events.
  • Foundational knowledge of relevant laws and guidelines.
  • A process for being culturally inclusive by creating teams, policies, programs, and service delivery
  • Increased awareness of how unconscious bias impacts individuals, teams, and service

Knowledge of relevant case studies, national disaster frameworks, and new California legislation pertaining to diverse populations and access and functional needs.


Workshop Details

This six-hour practical, interactive, awareness-level workshop will help safety officials and key stakeholders/partners better understand diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and cultural competency practices in emergency management and community risk resilience.

Participants will be able to create and implement more relevant culturally and socially inclusive teams, policies, protocols, service programs, and community outreach and engagement. The ultimate benefit will be stronger, more effective teams that work together to address their community’s rapidly changing social landscapes that are increasingly vulnerable to hazards and risks.

Based on the needs of the agency or organizational 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.


Workshop Goals

The workshop will provide participants with the basic concepts and tools of cultural competency and be given the opportunity to practically apply their understanding to public safety planning and policy, response and recovery, alerts and warnings, and public information program service delivery.

The Industries and Groups That Benefit From This Workshop

  • Emergency Management
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
  • Law Enforcement
  • Fire Services (FS)
  • Citizen/Community Volunteer
  • General Public
  • Governmental Administrative (GA)
  • Private Sector/Corporate Security and Safety
  • Public Utilities
  • Public Works


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.


Workshop Module Content

The workshop modules will present the following:


→ Cultural competency: What it is and why is it important

→Diversity, equity, and inclusion

→ Implicit/unconscious bias: Exploration of bias, neuroscience, and identities, bias impacts

→ Cross-cultural communication: Self-awareness, awareness of others, communications

→ Organizational cultural competency (intra and inter-agency)

→ Message transcreation vs. translation

  • Case studies: emergency management scenarios and lawsuits related to cultural competency, diversity, equity and inclusion, and rural environments
  • Recent Federal frameworks and legislation and model state legislation related to cultural inclusion, diverse populations, and access and functional needs.


Instructional materials

→ PowerPoint slide deck

→ Exercise and game props



→ Participant Read Aheads

→ Participant Workbook

→ Workshop Evaluation


Description of the Virtual Workshop

The online workshop builds upon a variety of learning approaches, innovative tools, and interactive exercises and activities specifically designed to effectively engage and instruct participants using the Zoom platform.

The workshop includes teacher instruction, Zoom break-out room functionalities, Zoom Chat, Reactions, and the use of a Whiteboard in the learning activities. 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.

Clients will receive

  • Zoom Instructional Guide:
    • Guide for participations protocols and use of the zoom platform, including menu tools, chat box, breakout rooms
  • PowerPoint presentation:
    • Primary visual teaching tool with Zoom-based activities articulated in language and imagery
  • Participant Materials Package:
    • Read Ahead Primer for Zoom: instructions for first-time or inexperienced users
    • Workshop Workbook
      • Step-by-step workbook for download
      • Uses illustrated directions and guides for participants to follow in the main workshop session, breakout groups, and exercises.
    • Participant Feedback Form: Digitized participant feedback form, including additional questions for soliciting feedback on the online format


What is Used for the Virtual Workshop

Facilitators Guide:

  • Virtual teaching instructions with detailed time cues, role choreography, and active links to outside resources
  • Zoom guidance for workshop facilitators and admin/technical support team members


Workshop Logistical Description

  • Workshop for approximately 30 people
  • The length of delivery is 5 hours
  • 2 fifteen-minute breaks
  • one-hour lunch (provided by the client if on-site delivery).
  • Props: Use of easel stands, easel paper, colored markers, and sticky notes.


Workshop Facilitators

The workshop is led by Suzanne Frew, 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.

Benefits of our workshop

The Frew Group has taken decades of work and experience, learning and refining and practicing this knowledge and these methods, and packed it all into this high-value workshop to save you years of costly trial-by-error.

Once you complete our workshop, you will see tangible improvements in everything you do, from planning to operations to team performance.

You will be able to do your job more efficiently and more effectively in a way that saves lives, saves money, and protects you from lawsuits.

You can’t afford programs that don’t deliver equity and inclusion.

How do you put a price tag on the value of human life? The choice is yours if it’s worth the risk to not act now.

Every day without the knowledge, skills, and abilities you will gain from our cultural competency workshop is a wasted opportunity to improve your community, and keep you in further danger of unnecessary disaster, catastrophe, loss of life, and lawsuits.

We have a limited number of training dates available. This is a live, customized workshop and we deliver it personally because we know our personal expertise and almost 60 years of combined experience doing this matter.

Emergency Management Training with Suzanne Frew of The Frew Group

Are you really prepared?

Disasters and hazards of all types are threatening your community with constantly growing frequency, scale, and cost. And if Cultural Competency isn’t integral to all your planning and operations, you are at high risk of litigation and of the next emergency becoming a catastrophic tragedy.

Do you want to protect more people at risk from natural hazards without spending an extra dime?

Do you want a comprehensive process and approach for including your whole community?

Once you complete The Frew Group’s interactive, innovative skill-building workshop, Cultural Competency for Emergency Management and Public Safety, you will have the skills to protect vulnerable people and make your whole community safe and resilient.

Increasingly critical training for all disaster workers

Workshops for disaster planning and community communication - climate change disaster planning

The single most impactful investment your community can make.

Hazards are growing in frequency, threat, and cost.

Constantly changing demographics make it more difficult to understand and reach your whole community.

Every community has vulnerable populations who are at higher risk to suffer and die during hazard events, which can turn disasters into catastrophes.

Plus you have a constantly moving target to comply with new legislation and national standards that could hold your government – or even you personally – liable for lawsuits.

And you have less money and less time to deal with it all. You face a dozen new challenges every day and less time and resources to implement the solutions.

The evidence is clear – 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 emergency management planning and operations.

diversity, equity and cultural inclusion
reduce risk of cultural incompetence law suits - cultural competence workshops - The Frew Group

Proactively Prevent Lawsuits with Litigation Mitigation.

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

The value of Inclusion, Equity, Accessibility, and Cultural Competency has long been recognized academically and theoretically, but the nuts and bolts of how to operationalize Cultural Competency and use it in the field have continued to lag behind –  until now.

Emergency Management workshops that use human centered design

Innovative, practical exercises with operational focus.

Crucial skills and strategies on which you can immediately act.

Social equity workshop - Crucial skills and strategies

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.”

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. Our team are federally-certified Master Exercise Practitioners (MEP) deeply experienced in Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) compliant protocols, and private sector practitioners trained in design-thinking, human centered design, cultural competency and inclusion.

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.

Suzanne Frew is an Emergency Management Consultant focusing on Inclusion, Equity, Accessibility and Cultural Competency for Highly Diverse Communities at Risk
The Frew Group Associates - Simma Lieberman "The Inclusionist"
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.

What people say about our Cultural Competency Workshops:

"Suzanne is a longtime leader in innovative communications strategy and inclusive community engagement. She’s been a catalyst for instilling a vision for equity in the national drive for community risk resilience. From serving as an original pioneer with FEMA’s launch of the first national community resilience program (Project Impact) to developing federal courses to link economic and social resilience, Suzanne’s understanding of the needs of diverse populations breaks through traditional viewpoints with a fresh and pragmatic approach that works. Her contributions as an instructor, a facilitator, and an author get to the heart of why inclusion and diversity are so vital to the future of risk-reliance work."
Michele Steinberg
Wildfire Division Director, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
"Suzanne Frew effectively and efficiently assisted the Bay Area UASI to build cultural competency principles within our training program to ensure inclusive practices that address the critical issues and needs of the region’s rapidly changing demographics and diverse populations."
Trusted Emergency Management Partner for the National Urban Area Security Initiative - The Frew Group
Craig Dziedzic
Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)
"Suzanne is a master at creating community engagement that successfully brings together hard-to-reach groups. She brought integrity, professionalism and passion to our project that tackled sensitive issues of land use, climate change, and environmental vulnerabilities. Suzanne designed and spearheaded a multi-pronged outreach program across the islands of Maui County, using both traditional and non-traditional methods, and included innovative community workshops that deeply respected local Hawaiian culture and traditions and used a serious game to conduct research and build collaboration."
County of Maui Logo - The Frew Group Workshop Review
Jim Buika
Maui County Planning Department
"Over the last twenty years countless consultants pushing planning and preparedness for “people with special needs” and “vulnerable populations” have come and gone. Suzanne remains one of the few who really understands, values, and successfully integrates cultural competency and cross-cultural communication in the planning, response and recovery processes. She brings a unique set of skills to a very difficult conversation and a lasting commitment to vulnerable communities."
Ana-Marie Jones - Review of The Frew Group Workshop
Ana-Marie Jones
Keynote Speaker

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 X 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 an 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 Workshops - Cultural Competence - IDEAS

Emergency Management Workshops for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Sustainability (IDEAS) and Cultural Competence