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Rhode Islanders with Special Healthcare Needs Urged to Enroll in Special Needs Registry in Advance of Hurricane Sandy

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) urges those with special healthcare needs to enroll in the Rhode Island Special Needs Emergency Registry in advance of Hurricane Sandy. Enrolling in the Registry does not guarantee assistance, but it does allow local and state emergency officials to plan for, respond to, and care for Rhode Islanders with disabilities, chronic conditions, and other special healthcare needs in an emergency such as a hurricane. HEALTH is working with municipalities to provide as close to real time information as possible in advance of the hurricane.

People who use life-sustaining equipment that need electricity should contact their electricity provider and inform them of specific needs, if they haven't already done so. If shelters do open, those planning to go to a shelter should bring at least a three (3) day supply of medications.

WHO SHOULD ENROLL Any Rhode Islander, regardless of age, who has a chronic condition, disability, special healthcare need, or may require additional assistance during a time of emergency. These include:

• Those on home oxygen, a respirator, ventilator, dialysis, pacemaker, or who are insulin dependent; • Those with mobility issues: use a wheelchair, walker, or cane; • Those who are visually impaired, blind, hard of hearing, or deaf; • Those with developmental or mental health disabilities; or • Those who use assistive animals or a prosthesis.

HOW TO ENROLL Visit to complete enrollment online, where the information is added into the Registry immediately. A printable form is also available on the website and can be returned by mail. If you have recently enrolled or updated your information after receiving a letter from HEALTH, there is no need to enroll or update again. If individuals cannot complete the enrollment form themselves, a family member or caregiver can enroll individuals on their behalf. Strict confidentiality is maintained at all times and only emergency management and response agencies have access to the information in the Registry.

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