Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Help in the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Usually, disabled people are pretty much shut out of disaster relief.  It seems that this time those of us effected by hurricane Sandy will be included along with everyone else.

More areas may have been designated as "disaster areas" as a result of power outages from feet of snow.  Please check with your county's officials, if you need to find out.

I hope everyone is safe!

Disability Rights Office/CGB Offers Communication Guidance to Persons with Disabilities
in Aftermath of Hurricane
The 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
isaster assistance applicants who have a hearing or speech disability and use TTYs
should call
 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:
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
·        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.
·        T
he 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
.  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
Find more information at
, or

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