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Health Check: Special Needs Emergency Registry

It is estimated that at least 20 percent of the population in Rhode Island qualifies for the Special Needs Emergency Registry. (WJAR)

It is estimated that at least 20 percent of the population in Rhode Island qualifies for the Special Needs Emergency Registry.

It's run by the state health department and can make a life-or-death difference in an emergency.

Brittan Bates-Manni is the coordinator of Rhode Island's Special Needs Emergency Registry. She told NBC 10 News more about who qualifies.

"Anybody who has any sort of need that they would need extra assistance during a time of emergency, significant emergency. Do we have elderly living at home who are fine day-to-day, but if they had to evacuate because of significant flooding happening all of a sudden, a dam break, a blizzard, would they be able to get out quickly?” Bates-Manni said.

It is also for people with any condition that a power outage or other emergency might affect, including people on life support systems or those who have mobility challenges. Anything you might consider a challenge. Simply print out or fill out the special needs emergency registry application on line stating your special needs.

But, where does the information go?

"Every municipality has access to the registry," said Bates-Manni. “They have direct access and they only see the people who reside within their jurisdiction."

How it’s handled depends on the city or town you live in.

"Some will go and call everybody -- or segments of the population -- before the storm," said Bates-Manni.

"Larger municipalities handle it differently.”

And here's something else you should know.

"We're actually linked to 911, so if the house phone of an enrollee or the cell phone of an enrollee calls 911 to report something, 911 gets a scroll across the top of their screen that says, ‘Registry,’ and it'll say the top three things that they checked off," said Bates-Manni.

She also offered advice for everyone.

"They should have a car charger and an emergency kit,” said Bates-Manni. “We also like to tell people (to) stop using candles. Please use battery operated lanterns."

You can heat up water or food in an emergency.

While it doesn’t appear to be a statewide registry in Massachusetts, New Bedford has one. Click here to learn more.

Click here to learn more about CDC Emergency readiness for people with disabilities.

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