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Survival guide

When challenges arrive, families need to know what to do and where to turn for help. That’s the backdrop for Tri-State Defender’s 2011 Survival Guide. A healthy lifestyle requires smart decision-making and careful planning. It’s smart to cancel your outdoor activities when thunderstorms are forecast. It is wise to drink water when you are working or exercising in 100-degree heat. When these and other challenges arrive, families need to know what to do and where to turn for help. That’s the backdrop for Tri-State Defender’s 2011 Survival Guide. Keep it handy and share the information with families and friends.

Disaster assistance & relief

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared 15 Tennessee counties – Bledsoe, Bradley, Cocke, Dyer, Greene, Johnson, Hamilton, Lake, McMinn, Monroe, Obion, Rhea, Shelby, Steward and Washington – eligible for federal assistance to individuals and families who have suffered damage from the recent tornadoes, storms and flooding. The process starts with a phone call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. Online, it’s www.DisasterAssistance.gov or through smartphones at m.fema.gov.

Some flood victims have reported that con artists have been wandering damaged Memphis neighborhoods, posing as FEMA representatives. FEMA Community Relations Representatives wear a uniform shirt and carry a picture identification card.

So, ask for ID before you let anyone into your house. The state of Tennessee has put together a helpful information guide at http://www.tn.gov/flood-help/#consumers.

Housing locator assistance – displaced

To help displaced residents find housing quickly, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency is urging all property providers to list available rental housing on the free, statewide housing locater service as soon as possible. The process of listing takes about 10 minutes and is completely free.

If you or your organization has available housing, list it on www.TNHousingSearch.org or contact a toll-free call center at 1-877-428-8844.

Tennessee Disaster Recovery – Facebook hookup

FEMA and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) have launched an online hub for collaborative information-sharing through Facebook for the response and recovery to severe weather and flooding in Tennessee.

The webpage, www.facebook.com/TNDisasterInfo, hosts an online community where those affected by the disaster and those active in the response can share information. You can find regular recovery tips and updates, including information on shelter locations and details on how to access disaster assistance. FEMA and TEMA will also upload videos and photos from the affected area.

Toll-free adult statewide crisis telephone line:

• 1-855-CRISIS-1 or 1-855-274-7471

Flood Watch Hotline:

• Send messages by email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

2-1-1 Tennessee

One of the easiest ways for Tennesseans to get help is to call Tennessee’s community services help line by dialing 2-1-1. When you call, you’ll get a real person; one who’s trained to help you sort out your needs, and then give you phone numbers and addresses.

Dealing with insurance companies

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has offered consumers some suggestions that will make dealing with insurance companies a little easier. For a complete list of tips, visit http://news.tn.gov/node/5018.

Insurance carriers – Hotline numbers & contact info

The Tennessee Department of Commerce has been reaching out to insurers about resources available to affected Tennesseans. Insurers have set up hotlines and have shared contact information. Visit http://news.tn.gov/node/5088.

It’s hot outside

The Shelby County Office of Preparedness offers tips to keep residents safe during summer heat and summer storms. For more information, visit www.staysafemidsouth.us.

Information hotline: 901-379-7094, 901-515-2525.

Stay cool:

• Spend time in air conditioned buildings

• Do not rely on a fan only for cool air

• Avoid direct contact with the sun

• Wear lightweight, light colored clothing

• Take cool showers or baths

• Check on those most at-risk twice a day.

Stay hydrated:

• Drink more water than usual, don’t wait until you feel thirsty

• Drink 2 – 4 cups of water per hour when working or exercising outside

• Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high sugar

• Encourage others to drink more water than usual

Stay informed

Learn the signs of heat-related illnesses and when to seek medical attention. They include:

• An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F, orally)

• Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)

• Rapid, strong pulse

• Throbbing headache

• Dizziness

• Nausea

• Confusion

When thunder roars, go indoors

Lightning is very unpredictable and dangerous. To keep safe when there is the possibility of lightning, the Shelby County Office of Preparedness reminds you of these safety measures:

• Most lightning deaths occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer during the afternoon and evening. Go indoors if thunderstorms are predicted. Reschedule outdoor activities.

• Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall. Heat lightning is lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction!

Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug electronic equipment, such as computers and TV’s, do so before the storm arrives. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.

• Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry.

• Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.

• Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.

• Get inside a home, building, or hard top auto. Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside an auto than outside.

• Rubber-soled shoes or rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. Steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.

• Use corded telephones only for emergencies. Cordless and cellphones are safe.

• Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.

Avoid the following:

• Natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated trees in an open area.

• Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water.

• Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.

• Anything metal–tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs.

Crisis services

• Suicide and Crisis Intervention: 274-7477, mhsanctuary.com/suicide/

• Teen Drug Hotline: 527-3784.

• YWCA-AWS Crisis Hotline: 725-4277. The AWS Crisis Hotline is a 24-hour/365 day crisis hotline providing crisis counseling, domestic violence prevention information, and social services referrals.

• Emotional Fitness Centers: 901-370-HOPE (4673).


The YWCA of Greater Memphis Abused Women’s Services (YWCA-AWS) offers the only domestic violence crisis hotline in the city. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Through the crisis line, advocates are available to assist clients with safety planning, crisis counseling, domestic violence prevention information, and social service referrals.


National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE.

The Shelby County Sexual Assault Resource Center

The Shelby County Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC) is committed to providing the best and most comprehensive services possible following an assault. These services are offered 24/7 and include forensic examinations, individual counseling and support groups, legal advocacy, community and professional education, and self-defense courses. All services are free. The Center focuses on education, prosecution, treatment and recovery.

Contact info: 2675 Union Extended, Memphis, TN 38112; Rape hotline: 901-222-9960.

Crime Victims Center

The Shelby County Crime Victims Center is the hub of victim services for the City of Memphis and Shelby County. Any resident of Shelby County who is a victim of a crime, or anyone who becomes a victim while visiting the county, may access services through this office.

Victim services include:

• Assistance filing for the Tennessee Criminal Injuries Fund

• Court accompaniment

• Crisis counseling

• Help developing a meaningful safety plan

• Help with social service needs, including screening for financial assistance


• Victims of domestic assaults, vandalism perpetrated by an intimate partner, and stalking meet one-on-one with citizens’ dispute counselor to assess their needs and receive referrals for social service assistance. Working closely with the Memphis Police Department, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, and the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office, the Citizen’s Dispute Section processes the filing of warrants for misdemeanor domestic violence offenses and orders of protection in Shelby County.

All services are free and confidential.

The Crime Victims Center (CVC): 600 Adams Ave., Memphis, TN 38105.

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Ph: 901-545-4357

Citizen’s Dispute Office, Shelby County Criminal Justice Complex: 201 Poplar Ave., Suite LL01, Memphis, TN 38103.

Ph: 901-545-2520.

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Housing Partnership

• Homeless Hotline, Central Intake & Assessment: Provides 24-hour screening and referral to area shelters and other appropriate services for families with children who are homeless or imminently homeless. Individuals without children seeking shelter services should call 2-1-1 for possible referrals.

• Short-term Rental Assistance and Housing Case Management: Provides short-term rental assistance (up to three months), housing case management and supportive services for up to one year for families with children who are homeless or imminently homeless. Must be 1) residents of Shelby County for at least 30 days; 2) employed or able to contribute some funds to rent; 3) have been in shelter or transitional housing less than 90 days previously; 4) adult(s) must show custodial relationship with child(ren); and 5) must agree to service plan with housing case manager. Call 901-260-HOME (4663) 24/7 for more information and to begin the screening process.

Shelby County Health Department

Offers a variety of wellness and prevention programs and services as well as immunization clinics.

Location: Vasco A. Smith Jr. County Administration Building, 160 North Main Street, Memphis TN 38103; Immunization clinic locator: http://www.shelbycountytn.gov/BusinessDirectoryII.aspx?lngBusinessCategoryID=24; 901-544-7600

Utility assistance

The Shelby County Community Services Agency (CSA): Residents must call to make an appointment to determine program eligibility. Contact either the CSA Raleigh office or the CSA Kirby office  at 901-545-3220. Walk-in appointments will not be accepted. The CSA offices are open for calls from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Metropolitan Interfaith Association Plus-1: Administers MLG&W’s program utility assistance program. Contact: 901-527-0208.


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