HUNTERDON COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Do You Require Special Help During an Emergency?
In a wide-scale emergency such as a hurricane, flood or a major public health threat, would you require specific help because of special needs? Or are you aware of someone who might? If so, you and any of your neighbors with special needs should know about Register Ready, a confidential online registry being launched here in Hunterdon County.
The county department of human services, the office of emergency management, and the health department are working together to ensure that county residents with special needs have this opportunity through Register Ready to let emergency response agencies know who and where they are before a major disaster occurs. The three county groups are helping assist the N. J. Offices of Homeland Security & Preparedness, and Emergency Management, in developing this statewide registry for residents with special needs.
"By signing up with this new confidential online registry, residents with special needs help emergency response agencies to better plan how to serve them during a disaster," said Rose Puelle, PhD, director of the Public Health Preparedness division of the county health department. "By knowing who and where they are, emergency responders can make the best use of limited time and resources to help those with no other options for evacuation during an emergency."
Hunterdon County residents or caregivers on their behalf should consider signing up with Register Ready if, because of physical or cognitive limitations, language difficulty, or lack of transportation, they anticipate having difficulty getting to a safe spot with family or friends or to a public shelter during an emergency evacuation.
To sign up online, visit www.co.hunterdon.nj.us and click on the Quick Link for "Register Ready." That will take you to the online registry form. If you do not have internet access, call 2-1-1 and register by phone. Services are available for the hearing impaired.
Register Ready is set up to confidentially collect and protect the exact information that emergency responders need to design a response plan that describes where the people are who have special needs and how best to assist them in evacuation during a crisis, when family, caregivers or friends are unable to help them. While signing up with Register Ready is not a guarantee of individual assistance during an emergency, the information in the registry will increase the ability of local responders to best utilize available resources that will be stressed during this critical time.
"This information helps define the logistical and geographical issues that need to be addressed in response planning," said Laurene Fleming, county coordinator for emergency management. "Information from Register Ready can also be helpful to responders in real-time during an emergency when fast decisions need to be made about how we can best use available resources to help those who will need the most assistance."
Sandra Poirier, RN, member of the Public Health Preparedness division, offers a special reminder to residents who require prescriptions, medications, and medical equipment. "During an emergency that might require you to evacuate for several days, it is extremely important that you take with you the medications you´ll need, medical equipment that can be ported, and any information listing the prescriptions you require and dosages. These essential items are vital to someone if they serve as a caregiver during that time."