32 Miss. Code. R. § 22-4.1 - EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE PLAN

Current through December 27, 2021

The purpose of the Agencys Emergency Assistance Plan (EAP) is to provide for the service delivery to disabled individuals during a natural disaster. The intent of the EAP is to develop a service delivery system that will enable VR clients in the event of a natural disaster to continue to receive services without a significant disruption in their programs.

Services provided by other community agencies/organizations will be coordinated by VR to assist in meeting the needs of clients if such services are typically not provided by VR. Agencies such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Goodwill Industries would be examples of assistance service agencies. In some instances, the designated disaster shelter in the community may not be accessible. A list of disaster shelters is attached to this plan. In some communities (such as Claiborne County), agreements and/or arrangements have been made with hospitals, nursing homes and other care providers to utilize their facilities, which are accessible in the event of an emergency.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has incorporated into their State Plan of Emergency Services the following information:

The counties contained in each of the nine VR service delivery areas, the names, addresses and telephone number of each District Manger and VR counselor.

This information will be incorporated into each county emergency plan. This will enable community and local city governments to be aware of whom to contact in the event they identify or receive a request for assistance from an individual with a disability. In most instances, it is apparent that VR staff that lives within the area affected by the natural disaster will themselves be unable to immediately respond to requests from clients in an effective manner.

It will be the administrative responsibility of the Director of VR and the Director of Client Services to designate appropriate VR staff not affected by the disaster to assist clients in the affected area(s). Appropriate VR staff may consist of a counselor, secretary, assistive technology specialist, rehabilitation teacher for the blind, and a staff member with communication skills for the deaf The designated staff will utilize existing VR office space and equipment in the affected area, if available. In the event such space/equipment has been destroyed, other office space will be secured within the area. If available, office space may be arranged at the county courthouse, mental health center, AbilityWorks, community college, fire station, hospital, disaster shelter, or church.

It may be necessary to select different office sites in the affected area to enable the counselor to have easy access to clients. This might also expedite the delivery of needed services. In the event, the counselor does not have sufficient case service funds to meet the needs of their clients during a disaster; they should request additional funds from their District Manager and/or the Director of Client Services.

The District Manager and/or the Madison State Office will duplicate client records, as needed and supplied to assigned VR staff Case service records, which will be duplicated for use by designated staff, will consist of the following:

* Copy of Application for Services

* Copy of IPE, Certificate of Eligibility

* Copy of the case notes

* Copy of testing and/or psychological reports

* Other information as needed for continuation of services

Every effort will be made to provide transportation (as needed), repair and/or replacement of assistive technology devices to clients when available and as needed. Assigned VR staff will be responsible for coordination of the various resources within the community to assist in meeting the client's needs. As a component of this plan, counselors will begin to educate their clients as to the community resources available to them in the event of a natural disaster. Such education and information will include the various locations of disaster shelters in their area, which are accessible; how to contact the Emergency Operation's Center in their county; as well as the toll free "hot line" telephone number for MDRS. The services of VR assistive technology specialists will be utilized to assess repairs to damaged equipment, home modifications, ramps, and other technology applications, which may be needed.

Each AbilityWorks unit has its own individual emergency plan, which is required by CARF. Periodic testing of this plan is required and conducted on a scheduled basis. A copy of the plan is posted on the bulletin board of each Community Rehabilitation Program (AbilityWorks). VR administrative staff conducts routine reviews/audits of those plans to be certain that each plan is being tested on a routine basis.

Assigned VR staff may need to give priority to selected cases of the most severely disabled due to individuals who have special needs and/or may be taking medications for disabilities that would be life threatening if not available to the client. These individuals might require assistance in obtaining insulin, for example, for a diabetic condition. Other individuals may require special medication for epileptic seizures, spinal cord, heart conditions, or anti-depressant drugs. Individuals with cognitive impairments (lack of ability to reason) may need assistance to determine a course of action during a disaster or emergency. Counselors should maintain a list of disabled individuals on their caseloads that they consider would require some type of assistance during a natural disaster. This list should be reviewed on a periodic basis, updated, and maintained for quick reference purposes.

Procedures to be followed in the event of a disaster:

* District Manager, Director of Client Services, and OVR Director become aware of disaster and inter-communication begins.

District Manager assesses situation and reports to Director of Client Services and/or OVR Director his/her recommendations.

* Director of Client Services evaluates the availability/adequacy of case service funds for utilization during this period.

* Appropriate VR staff is identified by the Director of Client Services and/or OVR Director

* As necessary, client records are duplicated by MIS.

* Assign VR staff to locate/occupy available office space. Office space in several areas within specified territory may be necessary.

* High-risk clients are identified and efforts to contact begin.

* VR staff provides appropriate services within the mission of the VR program and arrange/coordinate other services provided by community programs/organizations.

* Identify any equipment item needs and determine if any surplus equipment is available for loan purposes.

* Finalize arrangements to deliver equipment items identified to clients to expedite services.

It may be necessary to arrange for interpreter services for the deaf and/or mobility or reader services for the blind. It should be understood that during this period that MIS would consider request for client data a high priority.

Notes

32 Miss. Code. R. § 22-4.1

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