Resources for Texans with Disabilities During and After a Disaster in American Sign Language
The Governor’s Office has created a list of winter weather resources. If you are currently without heat, do not use outdoor appliances indoors or run cars in the garage for warmth. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur quickly. If you are looking for support and resources, the following places are here to help:
- In a life-threatening situation always call 911. If you are unsure whether to call, make the call;
- Contact your local office of emergency management, which should be able to provide information on things like where to locate potable water, warming centers, and local shelters. To find your local office search for your city + emergency management or:
- Visit the Texas Division of Emergency Management website, located at: https://tdem.texas.gov/field-response/.
- Choose the region including your county under the “Regions” tab.
- Click on the county you live in under the “Counties” section. This will take you to your county website.
- Navigate your county’s website to find the link to the Office of Emergency Management.
- Click on the link and locate the contact information of your local county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). If you live in an urban area, your OEM may direct you to a city-level OEM.
- Dialing 211 will connect you with state and local health and human services resources and non profit organizations;
- Dialing 311 will put you in touch with local government who can connect you with resources in your community;
- The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies operates a disaster hotline, 1-800-626-4959;
- As we begin to move towards recovery, the OneStar Foundation has a list of important disaster resources.
Disasters can have a significant impact on mental health. There are a few state and national hotlines available to take calls:
- The National Suicide Hotline is available 24/7 and is available in English and Spanish. The number is 1-800-273-8255;
- The Texas Health and Human Services Commission operates a free COVID-19 mental health support line at 1-833-986-1919;
- Text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a crisis counselor for free, 24/7 text support;
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7 confidential support to anyone experiencing domestic violence or seeking resources and information. Help is available in Spanish and other languages. Call 800-799-SAFE (7233).
In addition to these resources, many communities have mutual aid groups taking donations and providing critical support. To find a group in your community search for your city + mutual aid.
Be Aware of Scams
Unfortunately, disasters are often accompanied by people looking to take advantage of difficult situations. Here are a few rules of thumb to avoid scams:
- Never give out personal information (such as bank account numbers) to unexpected callers- when in doubt, hang up and call them back.
- If you are donating money, check to make sure it is a legitimate account. Sites such as Venmo can see fake accounts with similar names (e.g. AustinAid versus AustinAid_). Double check your sources.
- If you see price gouging (people charging extraordinarily high prices, such as $50 for a case of water), take a picture and report it to the Texas Attorney General.
- The Texas Attorney General’s Office maintains a list of common scams to be aware of, including Home Repair Scams.
Remember, organizations like FEMA will not call you directly and request bank account information. There is a false phone number being shared with a message about FEMA paying for hotels. This is a scam. FEMA is currently providing support via generators, water, and blankets. The best information on legitimate sources of support in your area will come from local officials and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).