FEMA v. Disabled
FEMA, MEMA warn against blocking vents
FEMA and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency caution travel trailer occupants that add-on structures may be dangerous. Add-ons can block trailer exhaust vents, which may raise carbon monoxide levels.
This also may happen if the trailer exhaust vents blow into the add-on structures.
If occupants have built an add-on structure close to or blocking the exhaust vent, it should be moved away from the trailer to allow dangerous carbon monoxide gas to disperse. Carbon monoxide gas is odorless, colorless, poisonous and deadly.
Occupants can call the FEMA maintenance number at 866-877-6075 24 hours a day if they have any questions about the vents.
- SUN HERALD
To prevent explosions, FEMA paints stove knobs red in Katrina victims' trailers
10/13/2006, 1:04 p.m. CT
By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN The Associated Press
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — Trying to prevent deadly explosions, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent contractors to more than 100,000 government-issue trailers on the Gulf Coast to paint stove knobs a distinctive red.
FEMA spokesman Aaron Walker said the change will help trailer residents tell the difference between the knobs that control the igniters and those that operate the burners on propane stoves.
Walker said four gas- or stove-related fires in FEMA trailers have been reported in Louisiana, including one in April that killed a man in Slidell. He said FEMA has had no reports of gas or stove fires in Mississippi.
Investigators blamed the deadly explosion in Slidell on propane that leaked from the trailer's stove when the knobs for two burners were left switched on.
Walker said workers in Mississippi have painted the knobs on about 85 percent of the 30,000 to 40,000 trailers there. In Louisiana, around 20 percent of the knobs in 70,000 trailers have been painted red.
The task is time-consuming because trailer occupants must be home for the work to be done, Walker said.
He had no estimate on how much it will cost FEMA.
The plan seemed like a waste of time and money to Vica Dees, a Biloxi resident whose stove knob was painted last week.
"It was just odd," she said. "I know what that knob is for. If it was that big of a hazard, they should have replaced it before they gave us the trailer."
FEMA scrapped its initial plan to replace black knobs with red ones. "We found out there are not enough knobs out there to get the job done in a timely manner," Walker said.
Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said his department has responded to dozens of fires in FEMA trailers since last year's storm — some caused by propane leaks, others by faulty wiring, cigarettes or food left in the oven or on the stove too long.
"You've got to give FEMA credit," Sullivan added. "They're taking immediate action because they evidently have identified a problem."
FEMA Needs To Give Out Handicap Accessible Trailers
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As part of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit, Brou v. FEMA, approved by the Federal District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana on September 26, 2006, the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reaching out to notify Hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees with disabilities, or those living with someone who has a disability, that accessible trailers are available for temporary housing. Katrina and Rita evacuees with disabilities who do not have accessible temporary housing should contact FEMA and make their needs known, even if they have previously been in touch with FEMA about their housing needs.
People with disabilities, meaning an impairment that limits one or more major life activities like walking, seeing, hearing, or speaking, may be able to get an accessible trailer from FEMA. Depending on the type of disability, individuals and/or the families they live with may be able to get a trailer with a ramp, enough turning space for a wheelchair, accessible tub or shower, as well as grab bars in showers, tubs and near toilets.
Individuals with disabilities, or those living with someone with a disability, who need an accessible trailer, should call 1-866-496-4297 (Louisiana evacuees) and 1-888-294-2820 (Mississippi evacuees), from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, (TTY number for both Louisiana and Mississippi is 1-800-462-7585) . Those calling the toll-free number should be prepared to discuss the kind of disability and the kinds of accessibility features that are needed.
FEMA will assist individuals with disabilities by either providing an accessible trailer, modifying an individual's current trailer to make it accessible, or finding those in need a suitable place to live.
Accessible trailers may take up to 90 days to deliver, or longer if an applicant does not have a suitable site for a trailer. Changes to make a current trailer accessible may take up to 60 days to complete.
Persons with disabilities who do not receive an accessible trailer should contact the agency at 1-866-496-4297 (Louisiana evacuees) and 1-888-294-2820 (Mississippi evacuees). To obtain an accessible trailer within the times in this notice, you must contact FEMA before May 9, 2007.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.
Additional Information: http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=30558