Post-Harvey Assistance: Preparations needed for AT/DME to Houston

September 1, 2017

A need for Assistive Technology (AT) - especially the subset of AT referred to as "Durable Medical Equipment (DME)" exists in areas hard-hit by Hurricane Harvey. As homes and neighborhoods flooded, many people were rescued without their AT/DME, or their equipment was lost or damaged in the flood. In addition, people may have developed new needs for AT/DME as a result of injuries sustained in the emergency.  Currently, efforts are underway to assess people in shelters to identify their needs for AT/DME, identify a warehouse to store donated equipment, and identify safe transportation routes for delivering donated equipment.

At the same time, you can help by identifying AT and DME that can be donated, and get it ready to be shipped when Houston is ready to receive it! Donated items must be in complete working order, which means used equipment must be repaired and sanitized, and having working batteries where appropriateWheelchairs must have intact cushions (not cracked), seat belts, and anti-tippers. Confirm that equipment has not been recalled (here's a list to check for recalls). Follow the indicators of quality for AT Reuse (here's a link for indicators of quality) from the Pass It On Center, the national technical assistance center for AT reuse.  You may want to contact your state's AT Act program for assistance and collaboration in this regard These steps will help ensure that the volunteers on the ground in affected areas don't need to sort through disastrous donations, but can quickly get good-quality equipment to the people who need it.

Full assessment of immediate needs is in progress; needs in longer term recovery are yet to be revealed.  Based on past disasters like Katrina, there are typically needs for wheelchairs (especially bariatric wheelchairs), walkers, bath chairs/benches, canes, C-Pap machines, etc.  We may not learn about pediatric needs until schools begin to re-open in mid-September.

More information about specific AT/DME needs and where donations will be sent once the matching and distribution process has been finalized.  You can also follow the national Assistive Technology Act Technical Assistance and Training Center (AT3) on Facebook  for breaking news and current information.

We'll continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. Additional resources can be found on the AUCD website:

Thanks so much for your caring and your contribution!