On June 28, Cape May County Kicked off Their First Special Needs Population Registry. Letters went out to everyone in the County encouraging residents to inform the County of any residents who have a special need. The list would then be made available to emergency responders during an emergency. With Hurricane season in full swing this list is especially important.
Who qualifies as a resident with a special need? Any member of the community who needs assistance. That includes wheelchair bound individuals, any individual with a developmental disability, or anyone with a physical disability. My daughter has Angelman Syndrome and she would qualify for needing assistance.
Filling out the form is simple. When you get the letter in the mail just fill out the information as best as you can and send it back to the address provided. It does not require too much detail and you can complete it in less than 5 minutes. Some residents will already be on the list because their names could have been provided by a county organization. You should not assume you are on the list, and be safe by filling out the form and sending it in. You should also offer to help a neighbor or another member of your community fill out the form if they are not capable of doing so themselves.
During an evacuation this list will be provided to emergency teams so they can quickly and easily find and help evacuation community members with special needs. This list will be able to save many lives that would have otherwise been lost because of lack of assistance and lack of emergency teams knowledge that assistance was needed.
Cape May County is one of the first four counties in New Jersey to begin this special needs registry. The other communities are Atlantic County, Ocean County, and Monmouth County. These were the first counties chosen to begin the program because they are considered coastal counties and have the best chance of getting hit by a hurricane. Not to mention they have been hit by hurricanes in years past.
The list is not currently complete and if you should need to contact someone regarding this list you can do so by calling the following offices:
Ralph E. Sheets, Jr., Freeholder Vice-Director
Director of Public Safety
Phone: (609) 465-1065
Fax: (609) 465-6189
Frank McCall, Director
Emergency Management Communications Center
30 West Mechanic Street
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210