BERKS COUNTY INDIVIDUAL SPECIAL NEEDS SURVEY TOOL 

**CLICK THE ICON ON THE RIGHT TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY**

Frequently Asked Questions
  

What is the Special Needs Survey Tool?
The Special Needs Survey (SNS) Tool is an effort by county government to better identify those in our community who are most at risk during a disaster.
In the emergency management field, these individuals are designated as part of the "special needs population". The tool is a web based data collection device for these individuals.

What makes an individual part of the special needs population?
The Berks County Department of Emergency Services defines the special needs population as: "Individuals who are likely to require assistance in excess of that provided to the general public in a time of disaster, particularly in the event that large scale evacuation is necessary." This could include those who are deaf, blind, bedridden, mentally impaired, without radio or television, or lacking transportation necessary to evacuate.

What additional assistance should individuals entered in this database expect?
The answer to this question depends on the nature of the emergency at hand. The intention of this tool is to get our special needs population "on the radar" so that community officials can make decisions about how to best assist them.

How do I use the SNS Tool?
Follow the instructions to logon and create a user account and then enter information about yourself, your loved ones, your friends, or your neighbors into the online data collection tool. The process is very simple, and we believe you will be able to enter the requested information without additional assistance. Once you create an account, you may enter as many persons as you like.

How will the information I enter be used?
The information is stored securely, and will NEVER be used for ANY purpose other than improving emergency responders' ability to assist you in emergencies. It will not be sold or given to private concerns for any reason.

What if I want my information included, but I don't have access to a computer?
Direct computer entry is the most efficient way to get your information into the system. If you have friends or family who can help you, you should ask them first. Most public libraries provide computers with internet access at no cost. If you have absolutely no way to access a computer, you can call Berks DES at 610-374-4800, Ext. 8216 and request that a paper copy of the survey be mailed to you. Be prepared to provide your complete mailing address. You will be responsible for returning the survey back to us by mail. Our staff will then enter your information.

I have a family member who lives in a nursing home/group home/assisted living facility/etc. Should I enter their information?
No. This tool is designed to collect information about persons living in private residences. Other initiatives are underway to ensure that individuals residing in these structured living arrangements are identified.

I still have questions. I am not sure if I should participate?
Register on the site and look over the information being requested. If you are not interested in participating at that point you can delete your entry. If you want to speak with someone about your concerns, you can call the Berks County Department of Emergency Services at 610-374-4800 Ext. 8216 with your questions or comments.

Will anyone contact me after I enter information?
An automated e-mail will be generated by the system on an annual basis. This e-mail will go to the e-mail address you provide when you register. It will ask you to log in to the tool and update any
information that might have changed since the prior year. If you complete a paper survey and mail it to our office, this annual contact will be made by telephone or U.S. Mail. It is critical that these updates be completed to ensure the most current information is available.

Additionally, the last page of the survey will ask you if you would like the Berks County Chapter of the American Red Cross to contact you and provide information about how individuals and families can better prepare themselves for disasters. This service is provided at ABSOLUTELY NO COST. If you answer "NO", you will not be contacted.

All individuals are highly encouraged to better prepare themselves and their families for disasters. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to survive in your home for 72 hours with no outside assistance. The Berks County Chapter of the American Red Cross can assist you in meeting this goal.

Find the Berks County Chapter of the American Red Cross on the web at: http://www.berks.redcross.org