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Disaster Relief & Emergency Preparedness

These pages include disaster relief and assistance resources and information on topics ranging from emergency evacuation to finding grants that can help you rebuild your life after a disaster strikes.

1. Emergency Preparedness Facts & Tips

1.1. Emergency Preparedness Facts & Tips

Emergency preparedness is the science and strategy of being ready for a potential or impending disaster or emergency situation. Be it a hurricane, flood, fire or any devastating event, being prepared will save lives and decrease hardship. Much of the advice includes things that you and your family can do on your own to increase safety during an emergency.

General Emergency Preparedness Facts & Tips

Ready to Roll
A United Spinal Association resource designed to assist in preserving the health and safety of individuals with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D) in times of uncertainty and upheaval due to natural or human-caused disasters through advanced planning, along with the preparation of professionals and local agencies.

Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities
Ready is a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters.

Emergency Preparedness: Including People With Disabilities
Information for people with disabilities, their family members, and first responders to help prepare and plan for special needs during a disaster including safe evacuation. From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Emergency Evacuation Preparedness Guide for People With Disabilities (PDF)
This guide focuses on developing emergency evacuation preparedness plans that take into account the needs of people with disabilities and their activity limitations. 

Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults
Information, tools, and resources for older adults and their caregivers to help prepare for and respond to different types of emergencies. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/older-adult-emergency.html

Emergency Planning for People Who Use Electrical Assistive Technology or Medical Equipment
This emergency power planning checklist is for people who use electricity and battery dependent assistive technology and medical devices, including breathing machines (respirators, ventilators), power wheelchairs and scooters, oxygen, suction or home dialysis equipment.

Emergency Preparedness for Children and Their Caregivers
Learn more about the unique needs of children during and after disasters and how disasters can affect children differently than they do adults.

Emergency Preparedness for People With Chronic Illnesses
Disaster information for people with chronic conditions and disabilities including recommendations and resources on deafness and hearing impairment, diabetes, dialysis care, and more.

Emergency Preparedness for Expecting and New Parents
Information to help expecting and new parents better prepare for a disaster or evacuation.

Disaster Preparedness for Your Pet
Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe. The best thing you can do  for your pet is being prepared. This guide from the ASPCA offers simple steps you can take before a disaster to make sure that your pet stays safe.

The Preparedness Wizard
A tool to help you and your family develop a preparedness plan from the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University.

Ready New York: Emergency Planning for People With Disabilities
NYC Emergency Management offers a workbook designed to assist New Yorkers with disabilities or access and functional needs create an emergency plan. "My Emergency Plan" walks users through establishing a support network, capturing important health information, planning for evacuation, and gathering emergency supplies. First responders or caregivers can also use the workbook to help people during an emergency.


Winter Weather 

With winter weather occurring nationwide, make sure you’re prepared in the event of weather-related emergencies. Pay attention to weather reports in your area and be on the lookout for winter weather and freezing temperatures. Always listen for emergency information and alerts. Sign up for your community’s warning system and additional apps for emergency alerts such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and The American Red Cross Emergency Alert System (EAS). Winter storms can last from a few hours to a few days and may bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds along with them. Storms can often lead to loss of power, heat, and communication services. Be prepared for winter weather at home, at work, and in your car. https://www.fema.gov/blog/get-ready-winter-weather 


The Atlantic Hurricane season is June 1 through November 30 each year. Stay informed and sign up for weather alerts and information in your area. Contact your emergency management office for evacuation routes and local alerts. You may need to evacuate with short notice. Know who to call and where to go. Before a storm make sure to review available resources in your community and prepared at least up to 3 days of supplies. https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes   


You may need to evacuate with short notice. Know your zone ahead of time and actively watch notices to know if and when you have to leave. Plan ahead and know who to call and where to go. Sign up for your community’s warning system and additional apps for emergency alerts such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and The American Red Cross Emergency Alert System (EAS). In addition, track air quality in your area. https://www.ready.gov/wildfires



1.2. Emergency Evacuation Facts & Tips

Emergency evacuations are more common than most of us might think. Fires, floods, and many other natural disasters cause frequent emergency evacuation from endangered areas. It is in your best interests to heed and obey emergency evacuation orders as outlined by national and local authorities. In any area, call 2-1-1 for information on evacuation routes and shelters. Through FEMA, users can also text “shelter” and their ZIP code to 43362 to get a list of nearby shelter locations.

Emergency Evacuation

Need transportation?  Plan ahead. Call local transportation providers and emergency management offices to find accessible options. Many local emergency management offices maintain registries of people with disabilities so they can be located and assisted quickly during a disaster. 

Have your own car?  Keep a bag of supplies with you at all times. Include items such as blankets, water, food, first aid, and more.

Ready.gov has guidelines on how to evacuate your family and pets when time really matters. Learn what you should do if you need to leave quickly, and what you can do if you have a little more time to plan.

Learn how to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your pets safe and healthy during an evacuation and while staying in a shelter.

Build Your Own Disaster Supply Kit
A disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items you may need in the event of an emergency. This page offers a list of mostly inexpensive and easy to find items that may save lives in a disaster.

Family Plan: Make Preparations
Get tips on emergency evacuation from the State of Louisianna. Find out what to grab and take with you if you need to leave fast, as well as how to prepare ahead if time permits. Get tips on how to protect your home and valuables, and what supplies and papers you need to take with you. 

Tsunami: Preparing Your Evacuation Routes
Watch a short video that offers useful tips on how to prepare for an evacuation. You can use these in any community. Tips include things like be familiar with where you are, know the signs and what they mean, and know where you're going. 

1.3. Shelter In Place Facts & Tips

There are times when evacuation is not possible or would be more dangerous than staying where you are. At those times, your only option may be to shelter in place. The following resources can help you learn to shelter in place safely.

Shelter In Place Facts & Tips 

Emergency Shelter in Place Information
This Fact Sheet on Shelter in Place (PDF) from the American Red Cross will explain what shelter-in-place means and why it may be necessary. The document offers tips on how to shelter in place at home, work, school, or in your vehicle.

Stay Put: Learn to Shelter In Place
Learn how to safely stay put in different places: from any room to a vehicle. This page also includes information on sheltering in place with a pet. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Shelter in Place Supplies Checklist
A checklist from the American Red Cross listing supplies and equipment for a shelter in place lasting from hours to days. This checklist helps you determine if you have the necessary material on hand.

Build Your Own Disaster Supply Kit
A disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. This page offers a list of mostly inexpensive and easy to find items that may save lives in a disaster.

Safe Generator Use
This information from the American Red Cross tells you things you need to know about how to use a generator safely. Get tips on how to buy a generator, how to use it at home, and why you should not use it indoors. 

2. Disaster Relief & Assistance Sources

2.1. Ida Relief Agencies

In the wake of Hurricane Ida, one of the strongest hurricanes to ever strike the United States mainland, many people in Louisiana are now displaced and in need of a helping hand, as they will be for days and, possibly, weeks to come. Here's how you can provide one.

Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

As Hurricane Ida makes landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Louisiana, our Disability and Disaster Hotline is responding to disaster-impacted disabled people and connecting them to resources on the ground before, during, and after Hurricane Ida.
Disability & Disaster Hotline (800) 626-4959

Red Cross

To donate to those recovering from Hurricane Ida through the Red Cross online, follow this link. The Red Cross provides shelters, meals and water, emergency supplies and health services, including mental health. The minimum donation amount is $10, and donations are tax-deductible. The Red Cross also accepts donations by phone. To donate by phone or request assistance with donating, call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669).

Salvation Army

Donations can also be made through the Salvation Army. The organization uses donations to provide food, drinks, shelter, emotional and spiritual support and other emergency services to those affected by the hurricane as well as first responders. When donating through the Salvation Army, 100% of proceeds go toward the disaster relief of your choice, and no fees are taken. To donate through the Salvation Army, follow this link. To donate via phone, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).

A woman pushes a stroller past a boarded-up building in the French Quarter after the effects of Hurricane Ida knocked out power to the city, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in New Orleans, La. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Feed the Second Line

Feed the Second Line, an organization that provides support to those in New Orleans' creative community in an effort to preserve the city's signature culture, announced on social media that all donations made in September and October will go to those recovering from Hurricane Ida.

"With extended power outages expected, many will need food and other supplies. There will certainly be damage with Hurricane Ida -- but we will come together as a community and support one another -- because we love our city and her people," Feed the Second Line wrote in a message on Instagram.

To donate to Feed the Second Line, visit the website here.


Relief Gang

Houston-based Relief Gang is also reaching across state lines to provide help to those affected by Ida by working side-by-side with search-and-rescue teams going into Louisiana. The organization was originally founded to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey but has since expanded to provide aid in every major catastrophic event in the state of Texas, according to its website.

You can donate to Relief Gang via pledge by following this link. Pledge has a 0% platform fee for Relief Gang's Hurricane Ida fundraiser. Donations are tax-deductible but tips are not.

New Orleans Firefighters assess damage as they look through debris after a building collapsed from the effects of Hurricane Ida, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in New Orleans, La. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Global Giving

Global Giving, which has been responding to disasters since 2004 and raised more than $100 million in disaster relief funds since its formation, is now accepting donations to aid Louisiana as its residents recover from Ida. Donations will initially go toward providing food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products and shelter to those affected. The organization will then shift its focus toward long-term aid once immediate needs have been met. Click here to donate to Global Giving.

World Central Kitchen

World Central Kitchen (WCK), which provides fresh meals to those impacted by disaster, is currently taking donations to help the organization supply meals to those affected by Ida. On Monday, WCK was already on the ground in New Orleans and was prepared to cook up fresh meals in a food truck for those affected in the area. On Sunday, WCK founder Chef José Andrés said on Twitter that the organization had three kitchens set up in New Orleans with the capabilities of supplying 100,000 meals. To make a donation to World Central Kitchen, click here.

Louisiana SPCA

As humans throughout the state hurried to evacuate, the Louisiana SPCA stayed behind to make sure animals were safe as well. Between Friday and Saturday, the organization loaded up 160 shelter animals before traveling to Houston and Atlanta where they could safely ride out the storm and later be adopted out from various shelters. The remaining 220 animals that stayed behind rode out the storm at the SPCA's New Orleans Campus, along with staff members who remained on-site to provide care to the animals. You can help the SPCA keep these animals safe by providing a donation here.

If you're interested in adopting any of the furry friends that were affected by Ida, the Louisiana SPCA is posting when new pets are available for adopting on Petango. Follow the SPCA on Twitter to see when new pets are available to adopt.

Charity NavigatorCharity Watch and GuideStar are sources that can help you vet charities and non-profit organizations.

If you were affected by Hurricane Ida and are feeling anxious, isolated, overwhelmed or distressed in another way, you can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline by calling or texting 1-800-985-5990 to access 24/7 crisis counseling. Multiple language options are available, including American sign language.


2.2. Shelter & Housing - Disaster Relief & Assistance

These sources can help you locate disaster relief and assistance sources. 

Shelter & Housing: Disaster Relief and Assistance

Emergency Management Agencies
This page contains contact information for emergency management agencies and offices for all U.S. States and Territories.

American Red Cross
This assistance locator will guide you to local Red Cross chapters who can then inform you of shelter and other emergency services that they may have in your area.

Disaster Recovery Center Locator
FEMA offers an online Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) Locator that allows individuals to search for Disaster Recovery Centers near them. The locator provides information about each Disaster Recovery Center, such including hours of operation, services offered, and driving directions. You will need to enter you location information. You can search the locator by Address, City, and State and/or Zip Code.

This site has an anonymous online form that you can complete to get an accurate, personalized list of possible assistance. The form questions are directly related to disaster assistance and the response is in the form of a list of possible disaster assistance sources and their online applications.

Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) Hotel Locator
This FEMA page contains a map based directory that allows you to find hotels that participate in the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program. The results from this search does not imply that room is available. You will have to contact the hotels to obtain information.

Salvation Army Housing & Homeless Services
For those facing extreme heat, unbearable cold, wet weather, or other dangerous elements on the street, each Salvation Army homeless shelter is a welcome respite featuring a safe place to eat, sleep, and shower at no cost. The link is to a search mechanism that can locate Salvation Army centers and services in your area.


2.3. Food Assistance After A Disaster

Assistance Obtaining Food & Nutrition After A Disaster

Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)
The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) gives food assistance to low-income households with food loss or damage caused by a natural disaster.

Food Assistance for Disaster Relief
Find out about USDA Disaster Nutrition Assistance Programs and the support they bring to communities and individuals recovering from disasters.

2.4. Financial Assistance Disaster Relief

Disaster Unemployment Assistance
A US Department of Labor program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits.

Home & Property Disaster Loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers affordable financial help to homeowners and renters in a declared disaster area. You don't need to own a business. Help is available in the form of low-interest, long-term loans for losses not fully covered by insurance or other means. You may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace your primary home to its pre-disaster condition. But you can't use the loan to upgrade or add on to the home, unless required by building authority or code.

Business Disaster Loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers affordable financial help to businesses and private, non-profit organizations in a declared disaster area. Help is available in the form of low-interest, long-term loans for losses not fully covered by insurance or other means.

DAV Disaster Relief Program
The DAV Disaster Relief Program supports veterans, service members, surviving spouses and their families during times of great need in the aftermath of isolated/specific disasters. The Midwestern and Eastern floods, Western fires, and Central tornadoes are just some of the disasters which have recently impacted veterans and their families.

Disaster Relief Resource Guide From The IRS
This resource guide provides information to individuals and businesses affected by a federally declared disaster and the assistance available to disaster victims. This Disaster Relief Resource Guide can help you claim unreimbursed casualty losses on property that was damaged or destroyed. 

2.5. Legal Assistance After A Disaster

Disaster Legal Services
A U.S. Department of Homeland Security managed program,  Disaster Legal Services (DLS) provides legal assistance to low-income individuals who, prior to or as a result of a Presidentially declared major disaster, are unable to secure legal services adequate to meet their disaster-related needs. When the President declares a disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through an agreement with the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, provides free legal help for survivors of that disaster.