Saturday, September 03, 2005

Assistance Available for Hurricane Victims who are Deaf or HOH CEPIN Regional Centers Standing by to Assist Displaced Individuals & Families

* Media Contact*:
Jim House, CEPIN Project National Coordinator
jimhouse@tdi-online.org
(301) 589-3797 FAX

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Assistance Available for Hurricane Victims who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing CEPIN Regional Centers Standing by to Assist Displaced Individuals and Families


Silver Spring, MD [September 2, 2005] – Emergency assistance plans have been put in place for Hurricane Katrina victims who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. The Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network (CEPIN) Project has designated CSD of Oklahoma and Northern Resource Virginia Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC) as CEPIN contact centers for Hurricane Katrina victims and their families.

Agencies serving deaf or hard of hearing individuals in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina are reporting that their phone lines and offices are shut down for the time being. Coverage for pagers may be weak at times due to loss of network capabilities. As a result, people wanting to find information on recovery and rescue efforts in the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina are encouraged in Louisiana or displaced westward in Texas to contact CSD of Oklahoma during regular business hours at:

www.c-s-d.org (click on locations, then Oklahoma)
(866) 845-7445 Voice/TTY (Toll Free)
(918) 835-7445 Voice/TTY
(918) 835-6459 FAX
csdoklahoma@c-s-d.org

“We have people standing by at the CEPIN regional center, which is being facilitated by CSD of Oklahoma Division Director Glenna Cooper," said Dr. Benjamin J. Soukup, CSD CEO. "We recognize that people who are deaf or hard of hearing are often overlooked in disaster recovery and rescue efforts, and we are working hard to ensure that this does not happen with Hurricane Katrina. CSD of Oklahoma is working closely with the local Red Cross and other appropriate organizations, and they will be able to provide assistance."

"In addition to the victims, our office is also providing support and resources to the responders and volunteers to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing refugees are getting much-needed assistance," added Soukup.

For those wanting information in other states affected by Katrina such as Florida, Alabama or Mississippi, and displaced refugees in the Mid-Atlantic area, contact Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC).

"We are heartbroken seeing all the devastation that Katrina has brought upon people in the Gulf States, especially those who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and late-deafened," said Cheryl Heppner, Executive Director of NVRC.

Heppner added, "As part of CEPIN, we are eager to work with organizations and agencies to ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing get the services they need, especially hearing aids or other devices vital to effective communication. At a time when their lives are turned upside down, we hope the last thing worry about is how they will be able to communicate with others."

NVRC may be contacted during regular business hours at:
www.nvrc.org
(703) 352-9056 TTY
(703) 352-9055 Voice
(703) 352-9058 FAX
info@nvrc.org

Volunteers who have experience in working with deaf and hard of hearing people and have training in First Aid, CPR, CERT, and other rescue efforts should contact one of the two regional centers to offer their services. The CEPIN website also has a list of statewide resources available at www.tdi-online.org/tdi/emergencypreparedness/cepin.htm for
the areas affected by the hurricane.

If you need assistance in recovering from the disaster, contact the nearest Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
www.fema.gov
1-800-462-7585 TTY
1-800-621-FEMA (3362) Voice

For a list of organizations to donate money to:
www.fema.gov/press/2005/katrinadonations.shtm

(Please note that FEMA and other organizations are asking for monetary donations, not donations in the form of food, clothes or other goods).

If you need food, clothing, shelter or medicine, contact the American Red Cross:
www.redcross.org

If you need to find your family members, go to the American Red Cross FamilyLinks website at:
www.familylinks.icrc.org/katrina

If you receive social security benefits, Social Security Administration is working to ensure that individuals continue to receive their retirement or disability checks. More information is at:
www.socialsecurity.gov/emergency/
1-800-325-0778 TTY
1-800-772-1213 Voice

“It’s critical that we have this information on hand for victims, and that people are aware of these resources,” said Jim House, CEPIN Project National Coordinator. “The CEPIN Project will continue to be very supportive, and to monitor the recovery activities and provide assistance as needed. CEPIN will be adding information to its website and sending out information as news develops, and we encourage people to check our website for updates.”

About the CEPIN Project: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded TDI nearly $1.5 million for the two-year CEPIN Project, which focuses on developing model community education programs for deaf and hard of hearing consumers about emergency preparedness. For more information about the CEPIN Project, please visit
www.tdi-online.org/tdi/emergencypreparedness/cepin.htm.

About TDI: TDI is a non-profit advocacy organization that promotes equal access to telecommunications and media for individuals who are deaf, late deafened, hard-of-hearing or deaf-blind. Since 1968, TDI has successfully advocated for federal legislation such as the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Television Decoder Circuitry Act, both of 1990, as well as other legislation and policies mandating greater access to wireless technology, captioning as well as other telecommunication and media technologies. Since its inception, TDI has been promoting access to 9-1-1 centers and other public safety answering points, and is now working to ensure full access to information during natural or manmade disasters and other types of emergencies. TDI publishes annually, a National Directory & Resource Guide, commonly known as The Blue Book, a popular resource book for people with hearing loss, as well as the GA-SK quarterly news magazine. For more information about TDI, visit www.tdi-online.org.

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