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Hurricane Harvey Relief Resources and Important Information

Our hearts are heavy this week as we try, as a community, to start putting the pieces back together from this terrible disaster.Hurricane Harvey has dumped over 14 trillion gallons of water up and down the south Texas gulf coast and rescue efforts are still currently underway as we speak.Many families have lost everything and will feel the wrath of this storm long after it is gone. We have compiled a list of available resources that have been collected through multiple sources in the Houston Area.

Our Clients – Please let us know if you are experiencing any reduction in staff due to Hurricane Harvey as we have been in constant communication with our staffing employees who are ready and willing to be placed on assignment if need be. 

Our Employees – Please logon to your on-line profile or contact your recruiter to update your availability for assignments.   https://www.burnettspecialists.com/job-seekers/login.cfm

Call 3-1-1 (713.837.0311) to report high water and other non-life-threatening incidents. City officials are asking residents not to call 9-1-1 unless there is a life-threatening emergency.

Relief Resources for Employees/Employers

FEMA - We urge you to log onto disasterassistance.gov as soon as you are able. The website is self-explanatory and will walk you through the various forms of federal assistance that are available depending on the type of property damage you have suffered. You may also call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362.

DUA- Another option that may be available to you or to your employees is DUA, Disaster Unemployment Assistance. This is an unemployment insurance benefit made available for victims of disaster and available to individuals who:

1. Have applied for and used all regular unemployment benefits from any state, or do not qualify for unemployment benefits

2. Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment in the disaster area,

3. Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster

4. Establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their primary source of income

5. Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster

6. Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of household

You can find out more about DUA, by visiting http://www.twc.state.tx.us/jobseekers/disaster-unemployment-assistance or you can sign up for an account with the Texas Workforce Commission Unemployment Benefit Services here > https://apps.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/security/logon.do or by calling 1-800-939-6631 when you are able. 

American Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery - They offer everything from emotional support and responses to finding open shelters to coordinating volunteer efforts.You can visit their website for a plethora of information - http://www.redcross.org/local/texas/gulf-coast/disaster-response or contact the American Red Cross Disaster Assistance Hotline: 1-866-526-8300 and choose option 3.

Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims Section 203(h) - https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/ins/203h-dft

American Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery - They offer everything from emotional support and responses to finding open shelters to coordinating volunteer efforts.You can visit their website for a plethora of information - http://www.redcross.org/local/texas/gulf-coast/disaster-response or contact the American Red Cross Disaster Assistance Hotline: 1-866-526-8300 and choose option 3.

Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims Section 203(h) - https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/ins/203h-dft


How can you help?

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund – Established by Mayor Sylvester Turner, this is a tax-deductible flood relief donation effort for victims affected by the recent floods. You can text HARVEY2017 to 91999 or visit the website https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/

Open Relief Shelters Around the Houston Area – The folks at ABC13 have put together an interactive map of the relief shelters that are open in the Houston area.The list gives county info, the name of location, the address, and if they allow pets.   http://abc13.com/weather/list-of-shelters-around-houston-area/2341032/

The Houston Food Bank announced Wednesday that is was open and ready to start distributing supplies to those affected by the flood. The food bank also emphasized the need for volunteers, who would be used to inspect and sort food and repack dry food, among other things.

Donate food or cash to food banks in your area. Or you can donate to Feeding Texas, a network of food banks across the state. Find your local food bank here.

Donation Drop-Offs – while monetary donations continue to be the preferred way of assisting, donation drop-off points have been opened for residents who wish to donate in-kind to disaster survivors.You can view the full list here:http://www.houstonemergency.org/donations-drop-off/or contact the Donations Management hotline by phone 800-924-5985 between the hours of 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday to ask questions. If you are able to donate the following, please drop them off at designated locations listed on the website:

Food: Unexpired, non-perishable and easy-to-make

Water: Bottled water with the safety seal intact

Children's Supplies: Diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, diaper rash cream (in their original, unopened packaging) and cribs, playpens, car seats (new or gently used condition), and toys.

Clothing: New or gently used, and seasonally-appropriate. (e.g. shirts, pants, socks, shoes.) Only new undergarments will be accepted.

Equipment: Items that can be used to assist in the emergency response and immediate relief phase – such as power tools, ladders, chainsaws, fans, etc.

Supplies: Cleaning supplies (e.g. bleach, sponges, mops, N95 filtration masks, gloves, buckets,) chairs, and tables

Materials: Building materials (e.g. sheetrock, plywood, and lumber)

Toys: Only new or clean, gently-used toys will be accepted (e.g. books, board games, battery-operated games)

Furniture: Only furniture in clean and usable condition

Bedding: New bedding (sheets, pillows, comforters, etc.) in unopened packages are preferred


Travel Information:

Road Conditions – Road conditions continue to be an issue all along the gulf coast.You can see what roads are closed and what roads are flooded by visiting www.drivetexas.org (state level) or by visiting https://traffic.houstontranstar.org/layers/ (Houston area)

Local Area Gas Prices and Availability – To find out how recently gas stations in your area had or have gas, you can use the online resource www.gasbuddy.com to input your zip code.The site will then populate the most recent gas prices entered in by a user.This will help determine if gas stations in your area have fuel and what the cost per gallon was at that time the user updated the information.

Projected Road Openings - West Houston -  https://www.click2houston.com/news/projected-openings-of-west-side-roads-near-addicks-barker-reservoirs 

Addicks Reservoir

  • Sept. 15: Clay Road, including North Eldridge Parkway north of Clay Road
  • Sept. 20: North Eldridge Parkway between Clay Road and Dairy Ashford Road
  • Sept. 20: Highway 6 between Clay Road and Park Row
  • Sept. 20: Groeschke Road at Highway 6
  • Oct. 7: Patterson Road between Highway 6 and Eldridge Parkway

Barker Reservoir

  • Sept. 15: Westheimer Parkway
  • Sept. 22: South Barker Cypress Road

The county said drivers should expect long commutes due to extended traffic signal cycles.


Safety Tips After A Hurricane 

After a Flood Precautions – from Guidance Resources

1.Get necessary medical care at the nearest hospital.

2.Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations.

3.If the power is out, use flashlights, not candles, lanterns, torches or matches to examine buildings. Flammables or natural gas may be inside.

4.Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.

5.Boil drinking water vigorously for 10 minutes before using. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If fresh or canned food has come in contact with flood waters, throw it out.

6.Open all the doors, windows, closets and vents throughout your house. Place fans in the open windows and doorways. The more the air in your house is circulating, the faster things will dry. 

7.Try to keep your home's temperature about 15 degrees higher than it is outside. Be sure to check your heating system before turning it on to make sure flood water did not damage it.

8.To dry the areas between walls, remove the baseboards and drill or punch holes in the walls about two inches from the floor.

9.Remove as much water as possible from carpets and rugs with a water vacuum, and use fans to facilitate drying.

Returning to Your Home After a Flood

When returning home after a flood evacuation it is important to remember that the water may have created safety hazards in and around your house. Use this information to help you avoid illness and injury as you assess damage.

Entering for the First Time

Never enter a flooded area until local authorities give approval. They are more aware of unseen hazards near your home.

If you have access to a camera, take numerous photos to document the damage for your insurance company before any clean up begins.

Pregnant women, the elderly, children and pets should avoid affected areas in the home until cleanup is complete so they are not exposed to chemical fumes or airborne mold.

Examine the Structure

Do not enter your home if there is standing water around the exterior walls because you will not be able to determine whether the house is structurally sound. Consult with a professional before entering.

Examine porch roofs and overhangs to be sure they still have all their supports. Look for gaps between the steps and the house. The floor is not safe if supports or portions of the foundation wall are missing or if sections of the ground have washed away. Have a building inspector check the house before entering if there is any obvious damage.

Check the ceiling for signs of sagging. The ceiling might be holding water and could be very heavy. If a door sticks at the top, the ceiling may be ready to fall. Use caution when forcing doors open and wait outside the doorway before entering a room where the door was forced open.

Water-damaged floors can collapse under a person's weight. Avoid walking on sagging floors and watch for loose flooring, holes and nails.

Precautions to Take with Utilities

Try to return to your home during the day so you do not need lights to see. Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns for light. Do not use candles, gas lanterns or torches. Do not smoke in or around the house.

Natural gas or propane tanks should be shut off to avoid fire or explosions. Turn off the main gas valve, open all windows and leave the house immediately if you smell gas or suspect a leak. Notify the gas company, the police or the fire department. Do not return to the house until you are told it is safe.

Avoid any downed power lines, particularly those in water. In order to avoid electrocution, never turn power on or off while standing in water. If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of something burning but no visible fire, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the circuit breaker.

All electrical equipment and appliances must be completely dry before you use them.

Have a certified electrician check your possessions if you have any questions about their usability.

Consult your utility company about using power generators. It is dangerous (and against the law in many locations) to connect generators to your home's electrical circuits without the approved, automatic-interrupt devices. A generator can become a major fire hazard if it is online when electrical service is restored.

In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home's electrical circuits may endanger line workers helping to restore power in the area.

Have your home waste-water system professionally inspected and serviced if you suspect damage.

Cleanup and Disinfecting

Wear rubber boots, waterproof gloves and goggles during cleanup, especially if there has been a backflow of sewage into the house. A tight-fitting mask is helpful if you will be cleaning moldy areas.

Walls, hard-surfaced floors and other household surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water and disinfected with a solution of one cup of bleach to five gallons of water. Never mix bleach or products containing bleach with ammonia or products containing ammonia. Consider getting a professional to remove mold if it covers more than 10 square feet.

Be particularly careful to thoroughly disinfect surfaces associated with food such as counter tops, pantry shelves and refrigerators. Areas where small children play should also be carefully cleaned. Help the drying process by using fans and dehumidifiers in your home.

Wash all linens and clothing in hot water or have them dry cleaned. For items that cannot be washed or dry cleaned, such as mattresses and upholstered furniture, air dry them in the sun and then spray them thoroughly with a disinfectant.

Remove and discard contaminated household materials that cannot be disinfected. These items include saturated mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, cosmetics, food items, stuffed animals, pillows, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings and most paper products.

Throw away any food items—even canned goods—that were submerged in water.

After completing the cleanup, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Wash the clothes you wore while cleaning in hot water and detergent. Wash these clothes separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.

Chemical Hazards

Be aware of potential chemical hazards you may encounter during flood recovery. Flood waters may have buried or moved hazardous chemical containers of solvents or other industrial chemicals from their normal storage places.

If any propane tanks (20-lb. tanks from a gas grill or household propane tanks) are discovered, do not attempt to move them yourself. These represent a very real danger of fire or explosion. Contact the police or fire department if you find one.

Car batteries may still contain an electrical charge and should be removed with extreme caution by using insulated gloves. Avoid coming in contact with acid that may have spilled from a damaged car battery.

Immunizations

Outbreaks of communicable diseases after floods are unusual. However, the rates of diseases that were present before a flood may increase because of decreased sanitation and overcrowding among displaced persons. Specific recommendations for vaccinations are typically determined by local and state health departments.

If you receive a puncture wound, or a wound is contaminated with feces, soil or saliva, have a doctor determine if you should get a tetanus booster shot.

Contact a doctor if you become ill after returning to your home or during the cleaning process.

Resources

Some content on this page was gathered from documents found on the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, www.cdc.gov.  - Guidance Resources


IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS 

United Way 2-1-1: Dial 2-1-1 or visit http://www.211texas.org

American Red Cross: 512.928.4271; http://www.redcross.org/local/texas/central-and-south-texas 

Texas Division of Emergency Management: 512.424.2208; https://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/



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