Call Management in Times of Disaster

Call Management in Times of Disaster
1. Answer the call with “2-1-1 Texas A Call for Help, This is your name, How may I help you?”
2. Remain calm, even when the caller is not. The tone of your voice will assure them that their
situation is temporary and that you have the latest information available.
3. LISTEN to the caller. Remember that they are in crisis mode and may not say exactly what
they mean. You may have to ask them some questions to clarify their need.
4. New Connections is the source of up-to-the-minute, accurate information.
 The Disaster/Event tab is being updated continually, as we get information.
 When a caller asks a question, search the resource database first and ask a staff
person if you cannot find the answer.
5. Only give out the information you know. Don’t try to guess or make assumptions.
6. If the caller has an immediate emergency (such as being stranded in rising water, in the midst
of a health emergency, etc.) follow emergency procedures.
 If we are in Search and Rescue (SAR) mode chances are the 9-1-1 grid is down and
callers will not be able to reach 9-1-1. ask if they have tried to dial 9-1-1. If they feel they
are unable to do that, get their name and exact location and keep them on the line,
while you get a staff person to call 9-1-1 on their behalf. Then stay on the line with that
person, reassuring them that help is on the way, until help arrives. If we are is SAR
mode you will need to complete a SAR request and turn it into the supervisor.
7. Take breaks.
8. Ask for help.
NOTE: If you have a “weird” call, or you just aren’t sure how to handle it, please let your supervisor
I&R Staff Handbook, Tab 10. Disaster Preparedness
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding STEAR
This information can also be found on New Connections:
1. What am I supposed to do?
 Are you able to evacuate on your own?
 If your community has a shelter, can you go there?
 If your community is offering bus evacuations, can you make it to a pick up point?
2. I’m not sure if I registered, can you look me up?
 We are unable to look up registrations for privacy reasons.
 The only agency that can see your registration is your local emergency management.
3. What am I supposed to pack?
 Please keep in mind that there will be a lot of people involved and space will be limited.
 You are encouraged to take only what you can carry—a change of clothing,
identification and insurance documentation, personal hygiene items, medications, your
cell phone, and a few non-perishable food items for the ride, if desired.
4. When are they coming to get me?
 The STEAR will only be activated in the event of a mandatory evacuation.
 This is NOT door to door service.
 You can dial 2-1-1 or pay attention to local media for announcements of pick up
 Everyone is urged to exercise personal responsibility by doing everything within their
powers to get themselves to safety.
 If you are able to do so, please make your way to a place of safety.
 Do not wait for someone to come get you.
 If you do not have transportation to the pick up location, ask a neighbor or family
member to assist you in getting there.
5. Where are they picking me up?
 I can look in the statewide database to see if your area has established pick up
 Most communities require that their residents get to the pick up locations on their own.
I&R Staff Handbook, Tab 10. Disaster Preparedness
6. Where will they be taking me?
 You will be taken to a shelter in a community out of the surge zone area of the storm.
 We are not given the exact locations that each community will travel to.
7. How do I know when to evacuate?
 Listen regularly to your local radio or television stations when the threat of tropical
storms or hurricanes exists.
 Pay close attention when such storms threaten your local area. If it appears that a storm
may affect the local area, local officials may order or recommend that residents
evacuate and also provide instructions about what people in those areas should do.
 Be ready to follow the instructions given by local officials.
 Because it takes time to evacuate heavily populated areas, evacuations may be
recommended well before the storm makes landfall.
8. Who should consider leaving before hurricane evacuation is recommended for the
general public?
 People who live in low-lying or flood-prone areas or on barrier islands. Tropical storms
and hurricanes often produce heightened seas and tides that may affect these areas
long before the storm makes landfall.
 People who live mobile homes near the coast, or are concerned about the structural
stability of their home, should plan to evacuate any time a storm threatens. Even less
powerful hurricanes can produce high winds capable of damaging or destroying mobile
 People towing boats or trailers or driving recreational vehicles or other high-profile
vehicles should leave early. Some roads and bridges may be closed to high-profile
vehicles due to high winds before they are closed to cars.
 People traveling with young children, elderly family members, or people with special
needs. If you wait to leave until a general evacuation is recommend, traffic will be
heavier and the weather may be worse, lengthening the time you will have to spend in
your car getting to your destination.
I&R Staff Handbook, Tab 10. Disaster Preparedness
9. What should I do if I need help to evacuate?
 Preferably make arrangements with your family members, friends, or neighbors to assist
you before you need to evacuate. Most people will be glad to help if they know you
need assistance.
 If you do not have friends or family to assist you, listen to your radio or TV for
information on provisions being made to assist those who need assistance in
evacuating. If necessary, contact your local emergency management office to let them
know who you are, where you live, and what kind of help you need. Do not wait until the
last minute to call for assistance or local authorities may be unable to assist you.
 If you are experiencing a life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1.
10. If I plan on going to a public shelter, what additional items should I take?
 Public shelters are basic facilities that provide temporary housing for evacuees. Most
shelters do not have beds or cots, so you will probably be sleeping on the floor. So pack
as if you were going camping. Bring:
o Sleeping pads or air mattresses
o Blankets or a sleeping bag for each person
o Robe & shower shoes
o Books, cards, games and QUIET toys for children
11. What should I NOT take to a public shelter?
 Alcoholic beverages, weapons, and drugs are not allowed in public shelters.
12. Why should I carry food and drinks in my car?
 Stopping for food or drinks during a large-scale evacuation may significantly delay you
in getting to your destination.
 Some restaurants and stores along hurricane routes may be closed and those that are
open are likely to be very crowded.
 Additionally, once you leave the evacuation route to purchase food or drinks, it may be
difficult to re-enter the flow of traffic.
13. What can I do to help others?
 Check on friends and neighbors to make sure they have transportation or to see if they
need help in getting essential items together so they can be ready to evacuate. Assist
them if you can. If you cannot, help them get in touch with the local emergency
management office.
I&R Staff Handbook, Tab 10. Disaster Preparedness
14. How do I know where to go in an evacuation?
 Decide early on where you will go when a hurricane threatens so that you can make
preparations. You general objective should be to move away from the coast and well
 If you want to stay at a hotel or motel, make reservations as soon as it becomes
apparent that you may have to leave. If you are trying to find a suitable hotel or motel:
 If you've previously stayed somewhere that was satisfactory, call that place.
 If prefer a particular hotel or motel chain but need help in finding a location within
reasonable driving distance, call Toll-free Directory Assistance at 1-800-555-1212 and
ask for the toll-free number for that hotel/motel chain. You may also make reservations
at most major hotel/motel chains and many bed and breakfast facilities over the
 For major cities, the local Convention and Visitors Center can usually provide you
information on hotels and motels; many Convention and Visitor Centers can also be
accessed through the Internet. In smaller towns, the local Chamber of Commerce can
generally tell you what accommodations are available locally.
 If you plan to stay with family or friends, call them in advance so they may plan for your
arrival. If your plans change, be sure to inform the person with whom you intended to
stay so that they don't worry.
 Let your family and friends know where you can be reached.
 Make sure you choose an alternative destination in the event you are unable to get to
your first choice.
15. What if I want to stay in my RV or camping trailer?
 Keep in mind that both tropical storms and hurricanes often produce torrential rains and
tornadoes well inland.
 If you plan to stay in an RV or trailer, you might want to avoid campgrounds located
adjacent to streams and rivers or whose only access is via a low water crossing.
 And you may want to seek a campground that has some sort of stout building that could
be used as a tornado shelter.
I&R Staff Handbook, Tab 10. Disaster Preparedness