Organizations Preparing for Emergency Needs (OPEN): 2020 Governor’s Conference on Volunteerism

Presented by Sara Varela, Regional Preparedness Liaison Contractor, FEMA Region I; Arlene Magoon, Emergency Preparedness Specialist, FEMA Region I

Session Description:

When community-based organizations are unable to continue operating, those who rely on them are left vulnerable. It is important for such organizations to maintain and improve their abilities to: 

  • Prepare for risks in their communities
  • Develop emergency plans for various disaster types
  • Understand what is necessary to keep their doors open during and after a disaster

We will also cover the basics of individual and community emergency preparedness.

Organizations Preparing for Emergency Needs, “OPEN,” is a new training that grants community-based organizations tools to prepare for disasters. 

This class helps community leaders: 

  • Identify risks
  • Learn essential preparedness actions
  • Locate available resources to execute preparedness actions

Session Goals:

After attending this session participants will have a better understanding of what is necessary to keep their doors open during and after a disaster. Participants will know what/how to prepare and will receive a template to start planning their organization’s continuity of operations.



Sara Varela is a contractor as the Regional Preparedness Liaison for FEMA Region 1. She has been implementing emergency preparedness campaigns across New England for 5 years. Arlene Magoon has worked at FEMA since 2008. She has been deployed to many disasters around the country. She partners with organizations such as USDA, New England Disaster Chaplaincy Association, Medical Reserve Corps, CERT and other voluntary organizations to provide information regarding best practices and provides support that brings preparedness to New England communities.