With Hurricane Dorian bearing down on the East Coast, many people have been advised to evacuate. While a difficult task under the best of circumstances, leaving home can be particularly challenging for people with disabilities. There are issues involving service animals, medical equipment such as ventilators and even prescriptions that may have to be refilled at a remote location. Disability rights champion and wheelchair user Lex Frieden has been through a storm or two and has developed tips to help people with disabilities during a time of crisis. He’s even created a website where people can find them. He’s available for phone interviews.
disability911: Disaster Preparedness for People with Disabilities
Hurricane Harvey Resources for People with Disabilities
Compiled with assistance of the Pacific ADA Center and the ADA National Network:
- Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies Hurricane Harvey Disability Hotline (800) 626-4959. They are trying to help get people to safety, provide for any immediate needs they may have for disability related accommodations, durable medical equipment and other assistive technology, responding to evacuation and sheltering issues and problem-solving for a variety of immediate disability accessibility issues. Some of this may be redundant with what our TAs know and are familiar with, but they are an additional resource in case.
- FEMA has detail on safety tips for Hurricane Harvey and emergency numbers.
- @TDEM is the Official Twitter account of the Texas Division of Emergency Management. All-hazard emergency preparedness and disaster information for Texas.
- @HoustonOEM is the Official Twitter account of the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management.
- The City of Corpus Christi Harvey Information line
- Residents in need of assistance can register at www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA.
- Louisiana Emergency Services Agency
- @GOHSEP is the Official Twitter account of the Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
Lex Frieden, ILRU Director, found himself trapped in his home, sitting in his power chair, chest high in water during Tropical Storm Allison. This experience provided the impetus for ILRU, a program of TIRR Memorial Hermann, to become actively involved in recovery assistance and disaster planning for people with disabilities. In September, 2005, ILRU led efforts by a coalition of disability groups around the country providing support and assistance to people with disabilities along the Gulf Coast of the United States who were affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. During the course of 12 months subsequent to landfall of Hurricane Katrina, ILRU staff responded to more than 3,000 telephone calls and emails for help from people with disabilities in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas who were displaced by the hurricanes.
Whom We Serve
We serve people with disabilities or functional needs affected directly or whose situation was exacerbated by disasters like Hurricane Ike. We proudly initiated our Hurricane Ike Recovery Project for People with Disabilities and now our services expand to people with disabilities encountering other disasters as well as Hurricanes. In order to access our services, clients must have a qualifying disability and a qualifying disaster-related incident. Most, but not all, of the clients we serve are on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
What We Provide
This website includes information that ILRU gathered during the months immediately following the Katrina and Rita storms and which has been gathered since then as part of our efforts to assist people with disabilities, their families, independent living centers and other organizations prepare for and respond to disasters which may affect people with disabilities.
We also provide clients with:
- An assessment of disability-related needs
- Peer counseling
- Materials for accessibility modifications
- Research and referral to organizations providing community social service assistance
To utilize our service, please contact: ILRU 1333 Moursund Houston, Texas 77030 (713)520-0232 (Voice, TTY) (713)520-5785 (Fax) [email protected]