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New Red Cross Trailers to Assist with Special Needs Clients

Through a generous grant from the Department of Homeland Security that was administered by the local Metropolitan Medical Response System, the Red Cross was able to purchase two new advanced Functional Needs Support Services Disaster Shelter Trailers.

“We have been working closely with our partners at the local Health Department to secure the funds to purchase these vital assets to better serve our clients during a disaster,” said Joel Sullivan, Regional CEO for the Tennessee Volunteer Region. “The Red Cross is committed to ensuring that the immediate needs of those affected by disaster are met.”

In November 2010, FEMA published a report called “Guidance on Planning for Integration of Functional Needs Support Services in General Population Shelters.” This report was intended to address resource gaps to ensure that all disaster victims are given full and equal services regardless of disabilities. The Stafford Act and Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act (PKEMRA), along with Federal civil rights laws, mandate integration and equal opportunity for people with disabilities in general population shelters. In order to comply with Federal law, the Red Cross and other organizations involved in emergency management and shelter planning have worked to better understand the concepts of accessibility and nondiscrimination and to be equipped to meet the needs of all clients during a disaster relief operation.

“The Davidson County MMRS Steering Committee is thrilled to be working with the Red Cross on this project,” said Rachel Majors, Chairperson of the Committee. “Our goal is to increase community resources and continually improve emergency response and coordination. The Red Cross is a major player in that regard.”

Functional needs can vary from pregnancy to chronic illness, from needing a low-sodium diet and a blood sugar check to daily home healthcare. Anticipating the need for unconventional accommodations is the challenge that these new functional needs trailers will work to address. Each 8.5 x 11 foot trailer contains towels, comfort kits with personal hygiene items, medical kits, blankets, special needs cots, linens, wheelchairs, ramps, shower seats, canes, transfer benches and privacy screens. All of these items will be used to assist disaster clients with disabilities or special needs during their stay in a Red Cross emergency shelter.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at http://blog.redcross