During the disaster recovery response phase for the 2011 disasters, Tennessee has become aware at the Joint Field Office (JFO) that communications in planning and preparing for the access and functional needs community, especially with regard to Deaf and HoH consumers, that a planning assumption has allowed for a gap for years. It was assumed that ALL functional and access needs were being met through other organizations working with specific segments of the population. This assumption is remedied with integration of the access and functional needs community into emergency preparedness planning, via a coalition of leaders and emergency planners/managers who can incorporate plans, training and exercises to ensure viable integration of consumers with the emergency response and recovery system. In addition, a trained consumer is one ready to integrate into shelters and cooperate with Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) for Individual Assistance (IA). The Deaf and Hard of Hearing evacuees, including Deaf-Blind can be the most valuable asset to the process as a prepared citizen in advance of a disaster. In fact, they can become the model citizen in emergency preparedness, response and recovery.