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September 1, 2016

Hurricane Season is here. The City of Houston reminds residents who might need extra help in a disaster to register with STEAR

As we enter the most active part of hurricane season, Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) reminds residents who have disabilities, access, or functional needs to sign up with the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR). This program helps local agencies, such as the City of Houston, provide help to those who need it most during disasters.

Why should I register?
When disasters strike, often times it is the most vulnerable in our community who are impacted the most.  People with disabilities, those with access or functional needs, or those who might need additional help in a disaster should register.  By letting local agencies know where you are, and what kind of assistance you might need, they can better help you when it matters most.

Registration with STEAR should not replace the emergency planning you should be doing for yourself.  Visit houstonoem.org to download or order a printed copy of the City's Disaster Preparedness Guide to start the process.

How is this information used?
STEAR information is only accessed by authorized agencies for official purposes. The information you submit to the STEAR is kept highly confidential.

When an emergency occurs, or is likely to occur in an area, local governments use the information provided to help arrange for emergency transportation, assistance with basic needs, such as food, water and medication, and to identify where people are who might need information in accessible formats.

It is important to note that registration with STEAR is not a guarantee of any particular service, and priority will be given to those in immediate danger (such as a mandatory hurricane evacuation zone).  That is why you should always have a plan to meet your needs in a disaster.

How do I register?
There are three ways to register with STEAR:
1)   Online. Visit texasstear.org to register online.  You may also set up an account and register multiple people, such as neighbors, family members, etc.
2)   Call. Call 2-1-1 (VRS: 1-877-541-7905) and a trained 211 operator will take your information
3)   Paper Form. While registering online and by phone are the most efficient way of signing up, you may also download a paper form at houstonoem.org, fill it out, and return it to the State of Texas.  This may result in a delay until your information is in the system.

You may register someone else, but please seek their permission before submitting a registration for a person besides yourself.

What if I am a facility that cares of the needs of people who should be in STEAR?
Some state-regulated facilities are required to register their facilities with STEAR. Check with the agency which regulates your facility for more information. If you need to register, you can do this online at texasstear.org or by calling 211.

If you are an agency, company, non-profit, or faith-based organization that serves the needs of people who might register with STEAR; you are encouraged to provide opportunities to register them in the system. One good way to do this is to include registration forms as part of how you do business.  You may also promote the STEAR program by downloading fliers and distributing them.  These are available at houstonoem.org in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic, Urdu, and French.

Do I have to re-register each year?
Yes. The STEAR list refreshes every March, so if you haven't re-registered since March of 2016, you should register again.  This helps keep the list current and decreases the time it takes to help people in need.

What if I have more questions?
The City of Houston Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has a web page dedicated to STEAR.  Visit houstonoem.org and click on the "STEAR" link on the main page for more information.  You may also call OEM at 713.884.4500.


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