State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR)
On March 15th the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) introduced the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR). Under development for the last two years, this registry provides local and state governments and their response partners with valuable information pertaining to the needs of citizens within their communities.
This new registry replaced a mostly coastal area registry, the Transportation Assistance Registry (TAR), which was instituted following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and allowed individuals to self-identify the need for transportation assistance during a hurricane evacuation. The TAR included some questions related to the needs of an individual but was focused on information that allowed a local planner to determine what kinds of transportation the individual needed.
The STEAR is more focused towards providing information related to the types of additional needs an individual may have during an emergency or disaster event, including disabilities and functional and access needs, information that is at times very difficult to obtain. The series of questions voluntarily answered by citizens will provide local and state planners with the opportunity to validate planning assumptions, identify potential resource availability and gaps, assist in determining training needs of first responders and support agencies, and respond to their citizens’ needs based upon verifiable data.
The registry is completely voluntary and free to local governments and to Texas citizens. To participate, local governments should assign a data custodian(s) to obtain access to the registry information. Although there are basic responsibilities of the data custodian, once assigned, local governments must determine how they want to administer the program. Encouraging citizens to register in the system through public meetings and local volunteers will provide them with information to assist them in their planning, response, and recovery efforts.
Citizens can register for the system by either calling 2-1-1 or by filling out a registration form, available in English and Spanish. Once complete, it can be faxed or e-mailed to the number and address on the form. To register, individuals must provide name, address, telephone number, and primary language. Answers to additional questions are voluntary.
Licensed nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to register their facility in the system. They can register through 2-1-1 or by filling out a registration form.