Monday, June 4, 2007

Emergency Planning: Seniors, Disabled and Special Needs Persons

It is particularly important for residents with serious health concerns to have shelter that is adequate to meet their needs according to Department of Social Services (DSS) director, Jay Burrus. If a mandatory evacuation is called for, travel out of the area can be difficult to arrange at the last minute and uncomfortable for those with medical problems. No shelters are available on the Outer Banks and no services are likely during and immediately after a storm. Shelters opened inland in counties to the west and north offer only basic accommodations and they fill up very quickly. The shelters cannot provide prescription medicine, food for special diets, or assistance for those who are unable to walk or care for themselves.

DSS recommends that residents with special needs talk with their relatives and friends and arrange for transportation and a comfortable place to stay in an area less likely to be hit by hurricanes if at all possible. DSS maintains a Special Needs list of residents who lack transportation or other resources and can not make these arrangements on their own. DSS staff will try to make arrangements for those on the list when the weather forecast indicates that a significant storm may hit the area. Anyone wishing to have his name added to this special needs list should call 475-5500 and ask to speak to an adult services social worker.

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