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Suit May Go On in Disaster Plan for the Disabled

By Benjamin Weiser, 12/8/2012

A judge has agreed to allow a class-action lawsuit to proceed against New York City alleging a systemic failure in addressing the needs of the disabled population in planning for emergencies and disasters.

The lawsuit was filed last year after Tropical Storm Irene; the lawyers have contended that there were significant gaps in the city's plans to accommodate people with disabilities at city shelters or to evacuate them from high rises, among other claims.   ...continue reading "New York City Lawsuit over Disaster Planning for Individuals with Disabilities"

Disability Rights Office/CGB Offers Communication Guidance to Persons with Disabilities

In Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

From FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination, 10/31/2012 

Disability Rights Office/CGB Offers Communication Guidance to Persons with Disabilities in Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

The Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau offers the following information to individuals with disabilities seeking information and assistance during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy:

Phone Calls

•  According to an October 30, 2012 FEMA news release, the President declared major disasters for New York and New Jersey, making disaster assistance available to those in the heaviest hit areas affected by the storm.  Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties in New York and New Jersey can begin the disaster application process by registering online at, by web enabled mobile device at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).  Disaster assistance applicants who have a hearing or speech disability and use TTYs should call 1-800-462-7585 directly.  If you do not use a TTY and are calling through any relay service or by voice, you can also access the following voice telephone number:  1-800-621-3362.  These toll-free telephone numbers (provided by FEMA) will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

• If you have a hearing or speech disability, you also can use telecommunications relay services to make calls for assistance.  In your local area, dial 711 to access these services by TTY or by voice.  Alternatively, you can access IP Relay, IP Captioned Telephone or video relay services on line.

•  If you are trying to send someone a text message and it is not going through, wait 10 seconds before redialing a call.  On many wireless handsets, to re-dial a number, you simply push "send" after you've ended a call to redial the previous number.  If you do this too quickly, the data from the handset to the cell sites do not have enough time to clear before you've resent the same data.  This contributes to a clogged network.

• If you do not have electric power in your home, consider using your vehicle to charge cell phones or listen to news alerts on the car radio.  But don’t try to reach your car if it is not safe to do so, and remain vigilant about carbon monoxide emissions from your car if it is a closed space, such as a garage.

Television, Radio and the Internet

• Tune-in to television, radio and the Internet (via your desktop or laptop computer, tablet or mobile phone) for important news alerts.

• FCC rules require audio information about emergencies provided on television to be accompanied by visual information for persons with hearing disabilities.  This is typically provided through closed captions, so please make sure you have your captions turned on.

•  If you have a visual disability, emergency information provided during televised news programming must be provided in an audio format along with its visual format.  If you are watching regularly scheduled (non-news) programming and hear tones or beeps, this signifies that emergency information is being provided.  Turn on your radio or call someone to get up-to-date information about the emergency that is occurring.

• The Commission will continue to monitor closely complaints alleging violations of our laws requiring access to emergency information on television, and will review for possible enforcement action.  If you have a complaint regarding the lack of emergency information being presented in an accessible format, you may contact your video programming distributor directly for quick resolution of the problem (you can locate VPD contact information by searching the VPD Registry located on the FCC’s webpage at: or you may file a complaint with the FCC.

If you decide to complain directly to the FCC, your complaint should include:

• The name of the VPD (e.g., broadcast station, cable company, satellite TV provider, local telephone company) against whom the complaint is alleged;

• The date and time of the transmission of emergency information that was in a format not accessible to persons with disabilities; and

• The type of emergency.

You can file your complaint with the FCC using the on-line complaint Form 2000C found at  You also may contact the FCC by letter, facsimile transmission, telephone (voice/TRS/TTY), Internet e-mail, audio-cassette recording, Braille, or any other method that would best accommodate your disability.  Send your complaint to:

Federal Communications Commission

Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau

445 12th Street, SW

Washington, DC 20554

Phone: 1-888-225-5322 (voice); 1-888-835-5322 (TTY)



Fax:  866-418-0232

Fact sheets summarizing the closed captioning and access to emergency information rules are available at the FCC’s Web site at, and

Find more information at,,  or

Distributed 2012 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030;; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.


You should stock six basics for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items. Make your preparations easier by downloading the checklists included with each category and use them as you shop and store your supplies.

Food and Water
Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.
Store one gallon of water per person per day.
Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).*

*Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight.

Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
Canned juices
Staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.)
High energy foods
Food for infants
Comfort/stress foods

First Aid and Non-Prescription Drugs
*First Aid Kit
(20) adhesive bandages, various sizes.
(1) 5″ x 9″ sterile dressing.
(1) conforming roller gauze bandage.
(2) triangular bandages.
(2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads.
(2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads.
(1) roll 3″ cohesive bandage.
(2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
(6) antiseptic wipes.
(2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves.
Adhesive tape, 2″ width.
Anti-bacterial ointment.
Cold pack.
Scissors (small, personal).
CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield.

Non-Prescription Drugs
*Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
*Anti-diarrhea medication
*Antacid (for stomach upset)
*Activated charcoal (use if advised by the American Association of Poison Control Centers)

Tools and Supplies
*Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils*
*Emergency preparedness manual*
*Battery-operated radio and extra batteries*
*Flashlight and extra batteries*
*Cash or traveler’s checks, change*
*Non-electric can opener, utility knife*
*Fire extinguisher: small canister ABC type
*Tube tent
*Matches in a waterproof container
*Aluminum foil
*Plastic storage containers
*Signal flare
*Paper, pencil
*Needles, thread
*Medicine dropper
*Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
*Plastic sheeting
*Map of the area (for locating shelters)

Sanitation, Clothing and Bedding
Toilet paper, towelettes*
Soap, liquid detergent*
Feminine supplies*
Personal hygiene items*
Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
Plastic bucket with tight lid
Household chlorine bleach

*Clothing and Bedding
Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
Sturdy shoes or work boots
Rain gear
Blankets or sleeping bags
Hat and gloves
Thermal underwear

Special Items
Any and all medications
Heart and high blood pressure medication
Prescription drugs
Denture needs
Contact lenses and supplies
Extra eye glasses


*Board games and other games that don’t require batteries or electricity.

For Pets
Securely fasten a current identification tag to your pet’s collar and carry a photograph of your pet. It’s important to include the phone number of a friend or family member on the tag so anyone who may find your pet is able to reach someone who knows you.
Transport pets in secure pet carriers and keep pets on leashes or harnesses.
Call hotels in a safe/host location and ask if you can bring your pets. Ask the manager if a no-pet policy can be lifted during the disaster. Most emergency shelters do not admit pets.
Call friends, family members, veterinarians or boarding kennels in a safe/host location to arrange foster care if you and your pets cannot stay together.
Pack a week’s supply of food, water and other provisions, such as medication or cat litter.
Do not wait until the last minute to evacuate. Rescue officials may not allow you to take your pets if you need to be rescued.
Keep a list of emergency phone numbers

Thanks to Arva Priola

Distributed 2012 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030;; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.

 Long Duration Storm Has Potential to Produce Extensive Power Outages; Significant Flooding –

Impact in Commonwealth to Begin Saturday Night, Possibly Continue Through Wednesday; Storm Will be Followed by Colder Temperatures

RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency in Virginia in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, which is anticipated to affect the Commonwealth over the weekend and early next week. There is some uncertainty with the storm's final track, but all forecasts call for significant impacts to Virginia. Sandy will be transitioning to an extratropical storm as it reaches Virginia, leading to a broader wind field with a wider reach across the Commonwealth. In addition, current models predict a slower storm and therefore a longer duration event than usual.

Based on current forecasts, the eastern third of Virginia could experience tropical storm force winds for more than 48 hours, several inches of rain and coastal flooding. Even inland areas of Virginia could see strong winds and significant rainfall. There is a strong possibility of extensive power outages. Residents in the western and southwestern parts of the state could see some snowfall, and all areas of the Commonwealth will experience colder temperatures in the wake of Sandy, which, when coupled with anticipated power outages, could produce additional challenges for Virginians.

Speaking about the State of Emergency, Governor McDonnell noted, "We are issuing this state of emergency today as a precautionary measure in order to ensure that we are ready for any potential effects of Hurricane Sandy in the Commonwealth. Weather forecasters are predicting significant weather impacts across much of Virginia, and a long duration event. Due to the track of this storm, and the fact that it will be a hurricane transitioning into a more nor'easter like system, we could see severe weather lasting for 48 hours or more in the state. In that scenario, saturated soil coupled with high winds could lead to major tree damage and extensive power outages. Now is the time for all Virginians to prepare for those possible power outages and disruptions to public services. In addition, forecasters predict falling temperatures during and behind this system, and in areas that suffer power outages this will lead to new challenges in the days after the storm departs. Virginians should make sure their family members, friends and neighbors are prepared for this storm. I encourage all Virginians to gather batteries, blankets, water, canned goods, and other necessities prior to the anticipated onset of storm conditions late Saturday and early Sunday."

Eastern Virginia residents who live in low-lying areas should be ready to evacuate ahead of the storm. Citizens should listen to local TV and radio stations for instructions, such as an evacuation order for specific areas, details about evacuation routes and locations of evacuation shelters. If an evacuation is ordered for your area, take your emergency supplies with you, including all medications. For a list of suggested emergency supplies you should collect for your family, visit:

At this time, the Commonwealth does not plan to reverse lanes on Interstate 64, however a final decision on this matter will be reached this evening. Residents should review the evacuation routes for their area to determine the best route for their families. In the event that a mandatory evacuation is necessary in specific areas, citizens will be provided further instructions through local and state authorities.

A state of emergency is declared under state law so that state resources can be made available. The governor's emergency declaration ensures a fully coordinated state response to support local initial recovery efforts. A declaration also decreases time needed to get personnel, equipment and supplies on scene.

State agencies are preparing for Sandy in the following ways:

  • The Commonwealth has activated the Virginia Emergency Response Team.
  • The Virginia Emergency Operations Center is coordinating the state's response with increased staffing available 24 hours a day.
  • Virginia State Police personnel have been placed on stand-by and will be pre-positioned to the areas where they will be needed based on the final projected path of the hurricane. The Virginia State Police Swift Water Rescue Team is standing by in strategic locations.
  • Chainsaw crews from the Virginia Department of Forestry are standing by with emergency response personnel and to help with debris removal.
  • Virginia Department of Transportation crews are ready to clear roads and ensure roads are safe for travel.
  • The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring personnel on state active duty and begin prepositioning resources.
  • The Virginia Department of Health is coordinating with hospitals and long-term care facilities to ensure that they are prepared for storm impacts.

Emergency preparedness is everyone's responsibility. For information about preparing for Hurricane Sandy and for regular updates, visit For general information about the storm, dial 211.

Distributed 2012 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030;; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.