The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) and the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) have developed a Special Needs Emergency Registry for Rhode Island residents with disabilities, chronic conditions, and special healthcare needs. Rhode Island adults and children with disabilities, chronic conditions and special healthcare needs are urged to register for the Rhode Island Special Needs Emergency Registry. For example, people who use life support systems (e.g., oxygen, respirator, ventilator, dialysis, pacemaker); people who have mobility, vision, speech, cognitive, non-verbal and other disabilities; people who are Deaf; and those with chronic conditions and special healthcare needs.
The intent of the Special Needs Emergency Registry is to have a reliable system for the identification of Rhode Islanders that require special assistance during emergencies. The information provided will be shared with local and state emergency management and responders such as local town/city police or fire. As of today, over 4500 Rhode Islanders have enrolled in the Special Needs Emergency Registry.
“This Special Needs Emergency Registry is a major component of emergency preparedness efforts in Rhode Island,” said Director of Health, David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. “We have seen with other public health emergencies that people with special health care needs had trouble accessing care. By identifying people with special health care needs now, we will be able to plan more appropriately for emergencies.”
If needed during the response to the H1N1 virus (swine flu), HEALTH can use the Special Needs Emergency Registry for the following: · Identify Rhode Islanders with chronic conditions, special needs and disabilities who are at higher risk and/or who may need additional assistance. · Send direct notification or emergency alert information to Registry enrollees. · Maintain an ongoing list of individuals with specific chronic conditions or special healthcare needs that should be considered in the planning process.
Individuals have a choice of either registering online at www.health.ri.gov/emregistry or sending a completed Special Needs Emergency Registry Form (form is located on the HEALTH website www.health.ri.gov or by calling 401-946-9996 or RI Relay 711 TTY). If you do not register online, please mail the completed form to RIEMA, Database Manager, 645 New London Ave, Cranston, RI 02920.
The Registry Form is available in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, Hmong, Cambodian and Lao and in large print, CD-Rom, disc and via the HEALTH website. If you cannot fill out this form on your own, please have a family member or caregiver complete the form and submit on your behalf. Also, if more than one person from a household has a disability, chronic condition or special healthcare needs, each person should submit a separate Special Needs Emergency Registry Form.
Once a Special Needs Emergency Registry Form is submitted, HEALTH will send a GO-KIT to your home to help you begin to prepare for an emergency.
FAQs are available online at: http://www.health.ri.gov/pandemicflu/swineflu/FAQ/SpecialNeedsRegistry.pdf