Disaster Preparedness for Aging and Disabled Kansans

Message from Secretary Keck

Secretary Tim KeckAll Kansans, but especially older Kansans and those with disabilities, need to be informed and ready for a variety of disasters that can happen in Kansas. We face tornadoes, ice storms and severe weather as well as man-made disasters such as train wrecks or hazardous spills. You may need to evacuate quickly or shelter in place. What would you do with no water, electricity, heat or telephone? A well-prepared plan and disaster kit is essential to you and your family’s safety. Plan now for the unknown ahead.

Message from Governor Brownback

Governor Sam BrownbackKansas is a great place to live. We have wonderful neighbors, many outdoor activities, and usually good weather. But when the storms come, all Kansans must be prepared. From Cedar Crest Mansion to a low-income housing unit to campers on one of our many lakes, I urge you to be prepared for the unexpected. With our great radar and weather reporting system, we are seldom surprised by tornados and severe storms. Don’t wait until you hear a tornado siren to start your plan. Do it today so that it is ready when you need it. The information in this web page will give you many useful tips and suggestions as well as resources for further planning. You cannot prevent the weather, but you can be prepared for the aftermath.

Preparedness Guide

  • Basic Steps

  • Tornados

  • Severe Weather Alerts

  • Floods

  • Heat Stroke / Heat Exhaustion

  • Snow / Severe Cold Weather

  • Hazardous Materials Incident

  • Food Safety

  • Build a Disaster Kit

  • Stay in Touch With Family During / After a Disaster

  • Plan for Your Pets

  • Special Needs for Aging / Disabled Kansans

  • Kansas Vulnerable Needs Planning System

  • After a Disaster

Acknowledgements:  Kansas Department of Emergency Management, Florida Department of Elder Affairs, Center for Disease Control (CDC), Ready.gov, FEMA, American Red Cross,  Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Applying for Assistance

The first step to registering for disaster assistance is to call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. The helpline is open from 6 am to midnight, Eastern Time. As phone lines are usually very busy, calling early in the morning or late in the evening may work better during a disaster. Applicants will receive a registration number, which tracks them through the recovery process. The FEMA web site, www.fema.gov, also provides a wealth of information as well as a way to register.

This process can be individually handled if you are identified as having special needs according to set criteria. The next step for an applicant with special needs is to complete and sign an “Authorization to Release Confidential Information” form. FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers can then help applicants complete the form which satisfies privacy laws so that eligibility for various kinds of disaster assistance may be determined. Information provided during these first two steps automatically triggers the third and final stage of individual assistance to seniors with special needs. FEMA and the State will work with the individual to smooth the process of getting the help needed. 

Applicants will reach an automated recording. Applicants are advised to have pen and paper available as well as: their zip code and county, date the damage occurred, Social Security number; address of the damaged property; address and telephone number where the applicant can now be reached, estimated family income, and insurance information.

Once the information has been registered, the caller will be given information on FEMA programs and other possible assistance available, depending on caller’s income, damages and insurance. A copy of the application and a copy of “Help After a Disaster: Applicants Guide to the Individuals and Households Program” will be sent. The caller will also receive letters explaining any assistance being provided or why the caller was not eligible.

Based on the applicants information, they may also be mailed a loan application from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Information provided on the load application helps determine what type of additional assistance is available, including grants or low interest loans.  Loans must be paid back, grants do not. The SBA loans are low interest and can be for up to 30 years. Actual loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on the applicant’s financial condition.

Remember, preparedness begins with you. Think of the multiple types of disasters that could happen and prepare a plan. Whether it is just your home or neighborhood or the entire state that is involved in an emergency, what would you do? How would you care for yourself and/or your family? Get informed, build a kit and get prepared.

Important Links

Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults – www.cdc.gov/aging/emergency

People with Disabilities –  www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/emergencypreparedness.html

Family Emergency Plan – www.fema.gov

Emergency Supply List – www.ksready.gov or www.ready.gov

Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs – www.fema.gov

Kansas Aging and Disability Resource Centers – www.ksadrc.org

Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) – www.kdads.ks.gov

Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) – www.kdhesk.ks.gov/disaster_recovery.htm

Kansas Vulnerable Needs Planning System – www.helpmekansas.org

American Red Cross -  www.redcross.org

Centers for Disease Control - www.cdc.gov