Monday, June 5, 2017

Surviving the Storm

Suggestions from the Independent Living Team

By now we hope everyone is up and going with power after the storm that blew through our city toppling utility poles, trees, damaging structures and cars leaving 188,000 Memphians without power, crippling several businesses. According to several local news authorities this was the third largest storm to hit our city. Here at MCIL we always want to provide you with news that you can use. After experiencing the uncomfortable conditions during the outage the staff at MCIL talked about preparedness. How prepared are you to survive a power outage or any other natural disasters?

Some weather events and local cutoffs will leave you stranded in your home. You may be physically trapped in your home or asked by authorities to stay at home. In some of these events you may not have power, water and gas. 

Following is a list of some things that you may need if you stay in your home:

  • Water to avoid dehydration and to assist in other medical needs
  • Extra batteries to power up battery operated devices
  • Battery Powered LED Flashlights and Lanterns – to avoid fire hazard of using candles.
  • Battery Powered Fans and heaters to provide heat or cooling
  • Printed list of emergency contacts in case you need to reach someone so you don’t have to rely on your phone battery.
  • First aid kit to remedy any small injuries that may occur
  • Cash for a hotel alternate shelter
  • Battery operated radio to hear the latest news and weather updates
  • Cooler, especially if you need to store food or medicine in a cool place.
  • Nonperishable food items, some things you can eat that do not need to be cooked.
  • If you have a pet have extra food and water for them.
  • If you decide or are instructed to evacuate your home many of the items listed above may be very valuable. But make a plan and take only what is reasonable. Include in the evacuation plan:
  • Identification in the event you become ill or are injured and need medical care
  • Your medication that is clearly marked – in case you need help taking medicine, you need refills, or in case first responders need to know what you are taking
Now that we have mentioned items that will comprise your survival kit, let’s consider a contingency plan that works for you. Here are some tips:

  • If you have a Personal Care Attendant (PCA), plan an alternate route to your home and create a back-up plan if the workers cannot get to you.
  • If you require oxygen and other supplies, you can notifying your neighborhood fire department. Read about Operation Rescue and fill out the form online:
  • You may want to speak to your health care provider about easy portable treatment aids or option in the event of an emergency.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor, relative, or friend so they will know to come and check on you especially if you need assistance with handling your daily needs and your PCA services. You may also want to have someone on reserve to take care of your pet if you need them to.

Shelby County residents currently enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) who lost power for 12 hours or more may be eligible for replacement benefits. To be eligible for the replacement benefits, the household must:
  • Be current SNAP recipients;
  • Have been without power for 12 hours; or
  • Have experienced other household misfortunes that have caused the loss of food.
SNAP recipients must request replacement benefits within 10 (ten) calendar days of experiencing food loss. Once approved, replacement benefits are issued to current recipients using their existing EBT card.  To request replacement benefits, current SNAP recipients can call the Family Assistance Service Center at 1-866-311-4287, or visit one of two Tennessee Department of Human Services Offices in Shelby County. Due to the extent of outages, wait times may be longer than usual.

North Branch Office
3230 Jackson Avenue
Memphis, TN 38122
Office Hours:  7:00 am - 4:30 pm

Welles Branch Office
3360 South Third Street
Memphis, TN 38109
Office Hours: 7:00 am – 4:30 pm

An affidavit must be signed as part of the eligibility process.
Shelby County residents that do not currently receive SNAP benefits can apply online at , or in person at the office locations listed above.

The Red Cross is also providing one time food vouchers for those who lost food and need assistance and are not currently receiving snap benefits. You may reach them at 901-726-1690.