AGING SERVICES: Emergency Preparedness / Disaster Assistance

Emergency Preparedness / Disaster Assistance

 
 
The Aging Services Division is taking steps to inform CT Residents on: 1) appropriate steps to prepare for an emergency and 2) reported emergent events.
 
It is important that CT families take the time now and plan ahead to make sure every family member know what to do in the event of an emergency.  While a natural disaster may not be something we can avoid, preparing now for it will help us to be ready if a catastrophe were to happen.
 
This webpage contains information on the following topics:
 
**Hurricane Sandy Information & Updates**
 
Jan. 25, 2013 - Deadline to Apply for Hurricane Sandy Federal Disaster Aid Extended in Connecticut
 
The new registration deadline for FEMA assistance is Feb. 12, 2013.  The deadline to apply for a disaster loan with the Small Business Administration has also been extended to Feb. 12.  The state of Connecticut requested an extension based on a continuing flow of registrations from storm survivors.  Some disaster survivors may still be waiting on action by their insurance companies before registering with FEMA. Survivors should not wait to file their claims before applying to FEMA; some may discover after the deadline that insurance is insufficient.
 
FEMA wants all eligible Sandy survivors in Connecticut to get all the assistance they are entitled to under the law.  More than 12,000 Connecticut residents in the counties of Fairfield, Middlesex, New Haven and New London, and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribal Nation located within New London County have registered for federal disaster assistance.  FEMA had previously granted a 30-day extension of the application deadline in Connecticut. This additional 15-day extension was granted after reviewing the total number of applications and the rate at which new applications were being received.
 
 
Jan. 2, 2013 - FEMA Helpline Still Available to Assist Hurricane Sandy Survivors in Connecticut
FEMA’s registration Helpline is still available for Connecticut residents who suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy.  Although all FEMA-State Disaster Recovery Centers in Connecticut have closed, the Helpline remains available for survivors to register for federal disaster assistance. Sandy survivors who have already registered for aid can call to ask questions, update contact information or check the status of their applications.
Disaster survivors can call 800-621-3362 to register for assistance, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Those who use TTY can call 800-462-7585. Multilingual operators can be reached after the initial English message concludes.
The deadline to register with FEMA has been extended to Jan. 28.
Disaster survivors can register online anytime day or night at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or with a smartphone or other Web-enabled device at m.fema.gov.
 
Registering for disaster assistance with other agencies or organizations does not register survivors for FEMA disaster assistance. Having FEMA flood insurance does not register policyholders for disaster assistance; flood insurance claims are handled separately.
 
As of Dec. 28, 2012, more than 2,500 Connecticut residents have been approved for federal disaster assistance. FEMA offers financial help to survivors of federally-declared disasters to cover uninsured losses and critical expenses which cannot be covered by other means.
 
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362. For TTY, call 800-462-7585.
 
The U.S. Small Business Administration is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
 
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
 
 
Disaster Declaration Declared for Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London Counties
 
After receiving notification of the federal assistance available to cities and towns, businesses, individuals, and non-profits in Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London Counties, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that residents in those counties who suffered damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy must register with FEMA by phone or online to access that aid.
 
“This declaration will bring much-needed financial assistance to residents who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” said Governor Malloy.  “But it is critical to note that you must register with FEMA to begin the process of accessing possible federal assistance.  We will continue to work to get the rest of the counties in the state declared.”
 
To register by phone, residents can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).  The TTY line for people with speech or hearing disabilities is 1-800-462-7585.  The line is open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days per week.
 
To register online, applications may be completed at www.disasterassistance.gov.
 
If residents have disaster assistance questions, they may call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362.
 
In the coming days, state officials and FEMA will be conducting damage assessments to determine if additional counties may be eligible for assistance.  Residents and businesses in the non-declared counties (Litchfield, Hartford, Tolland and Windham) should dial 2-1-1 or go online at www.211ct.org to report their damage.
 
Please follow this link to the Governor’s website for this 10/31/12 press release about FEMA contacts: http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/cwp/view.asp?A=4010&Q=513238 
 
 
 
Job Rumors and Scams About Hurricane Sandy
There is a lot of misinformation circulating on social networks regarding the response and recovery effort for Hurricane Sandy.  FEMA has created a Hurricane Sandy: Rumor Control page that includes an on-going list of rumors and their true or false status.   Check back often, share the page and help FEMA provide accurate information about the types of assistance available. 
 
Currently, there are two jobs related rumors and scams that are circulating:   
1.  There are reports that FEMA is paying $1,000 to go to New York and New Jersey to clean up debris.  This is FALSE.  (November 5)  For information on how to volunteer and assist with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, visit Serve.gov/sandy
 
2.  There is a spike of web traffic related to FEMA hiring cleanup crews in both New York and New Jersey. This is FALSE.  (November 2)  For information on how to volunteer and assist with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, visit Serve.gov/sandy
 
 
Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen and Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein are warning Connecticut residents to be aware of potential scams in the coming days and weeks, especially ones in which scammers offer to help people get disaster assistance from FEMA.
 
“Residents should always request photo identification and read the fine print if the person is at their front door, and if it’s over the phone, then people need to be even more careful,” Governor Malloy said. “Unfortunately, the damage caused by Storm Sandy has left many homeowners, renters, and business owners vulnerable to fraudulent offers of help.  To anyone who is caught trying to gouge or scam people in Connecticut in any way, I want to be clear – we will find you, and we will make sure you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
 
“Residents across the state continue to cope with power outages, property damage and other disruptions to normal living and, unfortunately, this often leads to attempts from unscrupulous individuals to take advantage,” Attorney General Jepsen said.  “Consumers should take necessary precautions to protect themselves, both personally and financially, and should immediately report any instance of potential fraud.”
 
“Consumers need to be extra vigilant to guard against being further victimized by fraudsters hoping to turn this disaster into undeserved profits,” Commissioner Rubenstein said.  “Know who you are dealing with, make sure they are properly licensed, get everything in writing and never pay in full before the job is done.  Consumers should always contact the Department of Consumer Protection to check out the credentials of contractors or to report suspected fraud.”
 
Here is one general tip intended to prevent fraud:
 
When contracting for home repairs, homeowners should always use licensed local contractors, and ask for and investigate their references.  Furthermore, be sure to ask for a written estimate from at least three contractors that includes labor and materials, read the fine print before signing a contract, and do not pay a contractor in-full in advance.
 
Here are a few tips to help prevent fraud specifically related to FEMA:
 
FEMA-contracted inspectors always call to schedule an appointment before visiting a home, always wear a photo ID and always know the applicant’s name and registration number. Inspectors never charge a fee for help.
Those seeking federal assistance should never reveal personal information if the person or organization making the request cannot provide identification showing the state, federal or voluntary agency serving the disaster.
Residents and businesses in Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London Counties who suffered damage as a result of Storm Sandy must register with FEMA by phone or online to access possible federal assistance.
 
GOV. MALLOY ANNOUNCES INSURERS CANNOT IMPOSE HURRICANE DEDUCTIBLES IN CONNECTICUT
Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Connecticut Insurance Department Commissioner Thomas B. Leonardi announced that Connecticut homeowners will not face higher-cost hurricane deductibles resulting from the impact of this week’s damaging storm.
 
“The state moved very swiftly to alert the industry that this storm – although devastating to so many – did not meet the criteria for a hurricane deductible under state law.  Homeowners will not have to pay high-cost hurricane deductibles for damage resulting from this storm,” Governor Malloy said.  “Based on the lessons learned from Tropical Storm Irene, we have built stronger consumer protections into our insurance laws.  The Insurance Department will be working with the industry to monitor these claims.”
 
In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, Governor Malloy signed into law new criteria for insurers in order to impose the higher hurricane deductible.  The law requires that a hurricane warning be issued for Connecticut and that the National Weather Service record sustained hurricane force winds of at least 74 miles per hour.
 
Commissioner Leonardi notified the industry on Tuesday that based on data from the National Weather Service, Storm Sandy did not meet the statutory criteria and therefore “companies may not impose a hurricane deductible on Connecticut claims.”
 
“Our consumers and the industry deserve and received clarity from this state as soon as possible,” Commissioner Leonardi explained.  “The Insurance Department is monitoring the industry closely to ensure that carriers fully comply with all state insurance laws.  Our priority is protecting Connecticut policyholders and we stand ready – as we have for every disaster – to assist policyholders with questions and complaints.”
 
The Insurance Department has set up a special Storm Sandy webpage that offers a number of important resources including, toll-free claims numbers to companies, locations of mobile claims vans, flood insurance claims filing information, and more.  Consumers with additional questions can contact the Insurance Department by phone at 1-800-203-3447 or 860-297-3900, or by utilizing the online contact options.
 
 
 
PUBLICATIONS
The "CT Guide to Emergency Preparedness" provides information on public health emergencies and how you and your family can prepare.  Please follow this link for the Guide.
 
 
 
The "A Guide for Including People with Disabilities in Disaster Preparedness Planning" can be found here: http://www.ct.gov/ctcdd/lib/ctcdd/guide_final.pdf
 
FEMA, in connection with Operation Hope & the Citizens Corps have made available the following publications designed to help Americans minimize the financial impact of a natural disaster or national emergency.
 
 
 
 
 
Links to other websites that can help you prepare for an emergency:
 
Or Call:
  •  CT Department of Public Health at (860)509-7270
  •  CT Info Line at 2-1-1
 
For the lastest news releases from FEMA, please follow this link:
 
 
Preparedness for Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities:
If you are an older adult or person with a disability, you may have specific concerns during a disaster or emergency.  Please follow this link to learn more.
 
 
TSA Helpline for Travelers with Disabilities: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the launch of TSA Cares, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions, prior to getting to the airport. Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787 2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.

“TSA Cares provides passengers with disabilities and medical needs another resource to use before they fly, so they know what to expect when going through the screening process,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole. “This additional level of personal communication helps ensure that even those who do not travel often are aware of our screening policies before they arrive at the airport.”

Since its inception, TSA has provided information to all travelers through its TSA Contact Center and Customer Service Managers in airports nationwide. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.

When a passenger with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a representative will provide assistance, either with information about screening that is relevant to the passenger’s specific disability or medical condition, or the passenger may be referred to disability experts at TSA. TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary.

Every person and item must be screened before entering the secure area of an airport and the manner in which the screening is conducted will depend on the passenger’s abilities and any specific equipment brought to the security checkpoint.

TSA strives to provide the highest level of security while ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity and respect. The agency works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly. TSA holds quarterly meetings with this coalition to inform them about current training and screening procedures used in airports. TSA recently hosted a teleconference with members of these groups to announce the long-standing plans to implement TSA Cares for travelers and inform them of the upcoming launch.

All travelers may ask to speak to a TSA supervisor if questions about screening procedures arise while at the security checkpoint. The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST, excluding federal holidays. After hours, travelers can find information about traveling with disabilities and medical needs on TSA’s website.

All travelers can contact TSA using Talk To TSA, a web-based tool that allows passengers to reach out to an airport Customer Service Manager directly, and the TSA Contact Center, 1 866-289-9673 and TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov, where travelers can ask questions, provide suggestions and file complaints. Travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov


LEARN WHAT TO DO:
   *Floods: 
How can I prepare for or evacuate from a flood?  Please follow the below links for more detailed information on Floods as provided by the CCD.
 
 
*Winter Storms and Extreme Cold:  Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. Even areas that normally experience mild winters can be hit with a major snowstorm or extreme cold. Winter storms can result in flooding, storm surge, closed highways, blocked roads, downed power lines and hypothermia.
 
How can I protect myself from winter storms and extreme cold?  Please follow the below links for more detailed information on Winter Storms as provided by FEMA & the CDC.
Please follow this link for the Centers for Disease Control "Extreme Cold Prevention Guide"
 
 
Hurricanes are severe tropical storms that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Scientists can now predict hurricanes, but people who live in coastal communities should plan what they will do if they are told to evacuate. Please follow the below links for more detailed information on Hurricanes as provided by FEMA.
AoA Highlights the Beginning of Hurricane Season to Remind Everyone to Have an Emergency Preparedness Plan.  June 1 marked the beginning of hurricane season in the United States. This season, which will last until November 30, is predicted to be "near normal," which means that we can anticipate some hurricanes to affect various regions of the United States. 
      The Administration on Aging (AoA) wants to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the best way to prepare for the potential threats that hurricanes or other disasters can bring is to have a personal or family readiness plan.  If a hurricane or other disaster was approaching your community, would you and your loved ones be ready? Everyone, even, those living outside of hurricane-risk areas, should check personal preparations such as emergency kit supplies (enough to last at least 72 hours), note messages from local emergency officials, and rehearse emergency evacuation routes and family disaster plans. There is no better time to plan than now.
      AoA has been working with its federal, state and local partners to increase preparedness and response throughout the national aging services network in order to best care for those we serve. These conversations have been an opportunity to share important information about what has worked in past disasters and identify areas that are still in need of improvement.  When a disaster hits, AoA's network serves as trusted and courageous first responders, working in their states and communities to assist older adults who are impacted or who may be impacted.  We encourage everyone to contact their state, tribal and local offices on aging now to learn what their plans are for addressing the challenges that disasters can bring and how you can help to protect the lives of those you love.
 
To learn more about AoA's disaster preparedness efforts, visit: http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/Preparedness/index.aspx
 
For more preparedness information, please visit http://www.hhs.gov/disasters/
 
 
As of August 31st, 2010 FEMA offers the following information on Hurricane Preparedness:
 
Step 1: Get A Kit / "To-Go Bag"
Get an Emergency Supply Kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. You may want to prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car. This kit should include: 
   -Copies of prescription medications and medical supplies; 
   -Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows; 
   -Bottled water, a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight; 
   -Copies of important documents: driver's license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.
Make sure you have a "to-go bag" ready in case you need to evacuate, include: 
   -Water and non-perishable food; 
   -Battery operated radio and batteries so you can get important information from local officials; 
   -First aid kit; 
   -Flashlight; 
   -Maps 
   -Important documents such as proof residence, pictures of your family including pets, insurance policies, and tax records; 
   -Comfortable clothing and blankets; 
   -Unique family needs such as prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies or any other unique need your family may have;
 
Step 2: Make a Plan, Prepare your family
Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency. Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members. You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one.
 
Plan to Evacuate.  Identify ahead of time where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.  Identify several places you could go in an emergency, a friend's home in another town, a motel or public shelter.  If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating. If you have a car, keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case you need to evacuate. Take your Emergency Supply Kit. Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency. Take a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class from your local Citizen Corps chapter. Keep your training current.
 
Step 3: Be Informed
Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane. A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments. A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.  Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.
 
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale  Scale Number
(Category)       Sustained Winds (MPH)      Damage               Storm Surge 
-  74-95MPH  Damage Minimal: Unanchored mobile homes, vegetation and signs.  Storm Surge 4-5 feet 

2  -  96-110MPH  Damage Moderate: All mobile homes, roofs, small crafts, flooding.  Storm Surge 6-8 feet

3  - 111-130MPH  Damage Extensive: Small buildings, low-lying roads cut off.  Storm Surge 9-12 feet 

4  - 131-155MPH  Damage Extreme: Roofs destroyed, trees down, roads cut off, mobile homes destroyed. Beach homes flooded.  Storm Surge 13-18 feet 

5  -  More than 155MPH  Damage Catastrophic: Most buildings destroyed. Vegetation destroyed. Major roads cut off. Homes flooded.  Storm Surge Greater than 18 feet 
 
Hurricanes can produce widespread torrential rains. Floods are the deadly and destructive result. Slow moving storms and tropical storms moving into mountainous regions tend to produce especially heavy rain. Excessive rain can trigger landslides or mud slides, especially in mountainous regions. Flash flooding can occur due to intense rainfall. Flooding on rivers and streams may persist for several days or more after the storm.
 
Prepare Your Home
Cover all of your home's windows with pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds.  Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down. Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant. Secure your home by closing shutters, and securing outdoor objects or bringing them inside. Turn off utilities as instructed. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed. Turn off propane tanks. Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water. Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency by visiting: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/emergency/index.html
 
Prepare Your Business
Plan to stay in business, talk to your employees, and protect your investment.  Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. Identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible. Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your home. Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable. Learn about programs, services, and resources at U.S. Small Business Administration.
 
Listen to Local Officials
Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
 
 
The Centers for Disease Control offers the following statement on Earthquake Preparedness: "Surviving an earthquake and reducing its health impact requires preparation, planning, and practice. Far in advance, you can gather emergency supplies, identify and reduce possible hazards in your home, and practice what to do during and after an earthquake. Learning what actions to take can help you and your family to remain safe and healthy in the event of an earthquake."
 
Please see the following links for more detailed information:
Connecticut has not historically had major earthquakes.  For more information on the history of earthquakes in CT, please follow the below link
 
For more information on Earthquakes please follow this link to the
 
 
It is important to be aware that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die from heat waves each year than from hurricanes, lightening, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined.  Older individuals are particularly vulnerable to the effects of heat stress.  Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people and communities need to be aware of who is at risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. 
 
         **This information provided by NCEH's Health Studies Branch.
 




Content Last Modified on 2/26/2014 1:42:34 PM