A trainer centered between six first responders who have completed the training.


Over the past fifteen years, Niagara University has supported Disability Awareness Training for first responders, businesses, and government agencies — earning recognition as the preeminent resource for the training and support necessary to effect actionable change.

  • 2007: Disability Awareness Training and Niagara University form a partnership to train police officers.

  • 2010: The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council funds a five-year grant to Niagara University to develop a curriculum for the training of law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical services, and 911 dispatchers in the state of New York. This is the nation’s first comprehensive disability awareness training for first responders.

  • 2016: The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council funds Niagara University to create Emergency Management Disability Awareness Training. The program expands to six states. In September, the NY State Division of Criminal Justice Services adds the Law Enforcement Disability Awareness Training to the Basic Course for Police Officers, mandating all new recruits receive the curriculum in law enforcement academies.

  • 2017: The Fire Department of New York (FDNY), the world’s largest fire department, contracts with Niagara University to create a Firefighter/Emergency Medical Services training for their personnel. FF/EMS specific videos are created for each disability.

  • 2020: NU expands its training to a national audience, conducting more than 500 education sessions in nearly half of every state in the country. IDA’s holistic training and educational approach centers on all aspects of disabilities and issues impacting individuals with disabilities, offered in a sensitive and inclusive higher education and professional development environment. The states of Louisiana and Nebraska grant award NU to bring Emergency Management Disability Awareness Training. 

  • 2023: The Institute provides online courses, live training, resources, programs, and solutions for individuals and organizations that fulfill a societal need to enhance inclusion and bolster equity and quality of life for people with disabilities, their families, and their communities.

The Institute’s programs go well beyond providing education to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a legal requirement. We are proud to provide education and knowledge to proactively create a more inclusive and equitable society.

"This course is EXCELLENT and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND emergency managers attend the course. The instructor is a true subject matter expert and a great presenter/instructor. I learned so much from the course. Please share this training opportunity with your EMs."

— Stephanie, Emergency Manager at State of Missouri

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