Saturday, November 17, 2012

countys special needs registry didn't work...after hurricane

Westchester County has a special registry for people with special disabilities. The county encouraged residents to apply if they need special assistance, transportation or sheltering in the event of a major emergency or disaster. After the recent hurricane members of the Greenburgh disabled advisory committee reported that some people on the special needs registry were never contacted–even though they were out of power for more than one week.

I request that Westchester County contact everyone on the Special Needs Registry to determine if they were contacted by Con Ed, local governments or the county. If not, why not? I request that the county provide all of uswith an analysis of actions that were taken (OR NOT TAKEN) to help those on the special registry list. I also request that such findings be reported to state, county and local officials ---and that we come up with a plan to make sure that the next time there is an outage that provisions are made to give those with special needs the attention they deserve. We may need better communications/strategies how to deal with those on the registry for the future. After the storm a number of residents contacted me—people who depend on oxygen, those who were home after major surgeries, cancer patients, people bed ridden, with life threatening illnesses. No special provisions were made to expedite the restoration of power in their homes. I wonder how many of the frail population did not survive the ordeal.

Jack Fisher, a member of the Greenburgh Disabled Advisory Committee, is on the list. He was never contacted (his e mail is He participated in a public access TV statement that was aired at the Greenburgh Town Board meeting on Wednesday November 14th (you can watch the presentation- archives Town Board

This matter is one of the issues that will be discussed at a meeting I am holding this Monday night, November 19th at Greenburgh Town Hall at 7 PM. The goal of the meeting (which you are invited to) will be to discuss initiatives that could be taken in the future to improve procedures used after power outages.


Greenburgh Town Supervisor

(copy of special needs registry info below)…

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Special Needs Registry

What is the Special Needs Registry?

It is a list of county residents who may require additional assistance, transportation and/or sheltering in the event of a major emergency or disaster.

Who is eligible for the Special Needs Registry?

Any county resident with a physical or mental disability who would have trouble leaving their home quickly if told to do so. The Registry is only intended for use by those who live independently, and not in a residential special needs facility (i.e., nursing home or hospital).

Will my information be kept confidential?

Yes. However, the county will share the information with local, county, state and federal agencies for the purpose of emergency planning and emergency response.

Are the Special Needs Registry and 911 the same thing?

No. You must still dial 911 in an emergency.

Is participation in the Special Needs Registry voluntary?

Yes. Your submission of an application is your voluntary request to be included.

You may request to be removed from the Registry at any time by writing to: The Westchester County Office of Emergency Management, 4 Dana Road, Valhalla, New York 10595.

The submission of an application does not guarantee your inclusion in the Registry. Each application will be screened and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. You will be notified within 45 days of receiving your application if your application has NOT been approved.

Registrants are obligated to provide updated information on an annual basis. The county reserves the right to terminate registration at its discretion.

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Special Needs Registry Flyers

How do I sign up?

• Recommended: Call 211 (between 9:00AM and 7:00PM) and they will sign you up over the phone.

- In the event you are having trouble reaching 211, please call 800-899-1479.

- TTY users may also dial 211