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Sussex County Department of Human Services Holds Access and Functional Needs Workshop
Release Date: June 27, 2011

Sussex County Department of Human Services Holds Access and Functional Needs Workshop

The Sussex County Department of Human Services held an emergency preparedness, response and recovery workshop focusing on individuals with access and functional needs. The workshop was held on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Farmstead Golf & Country Club. Workshop attendees represented various populations of the community including police, emergency management, Sussex County Community College, human service agencies, Sussex County Prosecutor's Office, Health Department & Public Health Nursing and long term care, among others.

A main objective of the workshop was to support and encourage the integration of the needs of children and adults with access and functional needs into the County's planning initiatives for emergency preparedness. Another core objective was to strengthen communication and collaboration between local emergency management and the provider community, which is currently serving individuals with disabilities.

Guest speakers included Sheriffs Officer Mark Vogel, CEM, MEP, Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator and Steven M. Crimando, Director of Training, Disaster & Terrorism Branch of the Division of Mental Health Services, NJ Department of Human Services. S.O. Vogel presented an overview of comprehensive emergency management in Sussex County including two community alert programs: Outbound 9-1-1 and Register Ready. Mr. Vogel also explained what items are recommended to be included in a basic emergency supply kit. Steve Crimando gave a presentation on the behavioral consequences of disasters and terrorism, focused on the necessity of understanding human behavior for the success of an emergency operations plan and discussed what to expect after a crisis is over. Mr. Crimando educated the attendees on the New Jersey Disaster Mental Health System and its programs that are available as resources for Sussex County in the wake of a disaster.

During the afternoon session, the guest speakers included individuals representing persons with disabilities, NORWESCAP, Advanced Housing, Sussex County Homestead, the American Red Cross and the County Department of Environmental and Public Health Services. Multiple topics were addressed such as accommodations for individuals with electricity-dependent equipment, recommendations for sheltering in place, access to interpreters, how does someone locate their local shelter in case of a disaster, who is registered for Outbound 9-1-1 system, how often should an emergency kit be updated and preparations and sheltering options for pets.

The Sussex County Department of Human Services plans on organizing additional cross-training opportunities in the future in order to advance the efforts of the community in preparing for and accommodating the needs of children and adults with access and functional needs in emergency management operations. For more information, please contact Stephen R. Gruchacz, Sussex County Department of Human Services Administrator at (973) 579-0559 or SGruchacz@sussex.nj.us.

A program of the Department of Human Services, Stephen R. Gruchacz, Administrator, One Spring Street, Newton, N.J. 07860 Office Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Phone 973-579-0559 Fax 973-579-9894
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