Preparedness & Recovery

Durable Medical Equipment Arrives for Virgin Islands Hurricane Survivors

All of the equipment — which includes wheelchairs, walkers, shower supports, hospital beds, nebulizers, CPAP machines and hearing aids — was donated by the Atlanta-based relief organization Friends of Disabled Adults and Children.

by The Virgin Islands Daily News, St. Thomas / November 22, 2017

(TNS) - Through its Disability Integration Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be delivering hundreds of assistive medical devices to hurricane survivors throughout the territory.

All of the equipment — which includes wheelchairs, walkers, shower supports, hospital beds, nebulizers, CPAP machines and hearing aids — was donated by the Atlanta-based relief organization Friends of Disabled Adults and Children.

The Atlanta organization, which supplies durable medical equipment free of charge to people with disabilities and access and functional needs, is partnering with FEMA to get the equipment delivered to survivors.

“Providing durable medical equipment helps them regain some independence, which improves their overall health and well-being,” said Roxann Crawford, who leads FEMA’s Disability Integration team.

The initiative was made possible as a result of another FEMA partnership, this one with the Pass it On Center, a nonprofit organization that matches donors with communities in need. Pass It On is part of the Georgia Institute of Technology, which identifies and promotes the use of appropriate assistive technology for people with disabilities.

To ensure the donated items get to survivors who need it, FEMA’s Disability Integration specialists have been reaching out to survivors who indicated that they have unmet needs for durable medical equipment or other assistive technologies when they registered with FEMA.

“Our partnerships with voluntary and nongovernmental organizations are crucial to this recovery effort,” said federal coordinating officer William Vogel. “Together we do what government entities alone cannot do — meet survivors’ needs.”

Survivors who lack medical equipment or have other accessibility needs should alert FEMA when registering for assistance or speak to someone on FEMA’s helpline. Survivors have until Dec. 18 to register with FEMA for assistance.

Register at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 (for the Helpline request to speak to a representative). Individuals who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 800-462-7585 directly. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) can call 800-621-3362.

The toll-free numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

Operators can assist survivors in multiple languages.

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©2017 The Virgin Islands Daily News (St. Thomas, VIR)

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