Disaster Distress Helpline: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Talking Points
What is the Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH)?
The DDH is a program of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The DDH provides 24/7/365 crisis counseling and emotional support for anyone in the United States and its territories struggling with distress or other mental health concerns during any phase of a natural or human-caused disaster.
What services does the DDH provide?
• Toll-free, multilingual, 24/7/365 crisis hotline 1-800-985-5990 available across U.S./territories.
– For 24/7 “live” counseling in Spanish, hotline callers can simply press “2.”
– Support in 100+ additional languages is available via third-party interpretation services.
• 24/7 support via SMS (English: text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746 and Spanish; text ‘Hablanos’).
• The deaf, hard of hearing, or people with speech disabilities can utilize the texting option, connect with a DDH counselor via TTY (1-800-846-8517), dial 7-1-1 or use another preferred telephone relay services to connect with the hotline.
As the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary strives to assess impacts from Hurricane Irma, the public is asked to help by reporting conditions on and in the water. The observations will assist sanctuary staff in responding to immediate concerns and developing short- and long-term management actions.
First and foremost, be careful of on-water and underwater hazards when boating, diving and snorkeling. Water depths have changed in many areas and visibility may be impaired.
To share observations about the sanctuary’s natural resources, use the online reporting tool for the Mote Marine Laboratories Community-Based Observations of Coastal Ecosystems and Assessment Network (C-OCEAN):
Monroe County is experiencing higher than predicted King tides, running about 8 inches above the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration’s original prediction of about 6 inches for Key West. Other areas of the County may be experiencing even higher differentials.
The County is monitoring areas across the County as we experience these high tides, rain and heavy winds out of the east. We ask residents to also do their part to stay safe and dry.
The heaviest King Tides are expected to occur:
• Oct. 4-11
• Oct. 15-22
• Nov. 2-9
• Dec. 2-6
What should you do?
• Water in the street picks up pollutants from the surrounding environment. If you come into contact with flood water, be sure to rinse off using soap and water. Do not allow children to play in or near flood water and encourage them to wash their hands regularly.
In cooperation with Monroe County Emergency Management, the National Guard is beginning today a free short-term program in which guard members will remove interior storm damage from residents’ homes as part of the first step to make these homes livable again.
With the homeowner’s consent, the National Guard will remove damaged and moldy drywall, flooring, carpeting, ceilings, doors, insulation, fixtures, kitchen cabinets, destroyed appliances and other unsalvageable contents and bring them curbside. They also will do limited sanitizing to prevent mold from returning.
This is the first two steps of 17 required in the FEMA program called STEP (Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power). This program funds certain necessary and essential measures to help restore power, heat and hot water to primary residences that could regain power through necessary and essential repairs. STEP can help residents safely shelter-in-place in their homes pending more permanent repairs.
Water quality testing performed by the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County has indicated elevated levels of enteric bacteria (enterococci) in the nearshore waters at the beach at Harry Harris Park in Tavernier.
Water quality advisories are also issued for the following beaches as they were not accessible for sampling due to the hurricane Irma effects: John Pennekamp Park, Bahia Honda Sandspur and Fort Zachary Taylor.
The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from stormwater runoff, pets, wildlife and human sewage. These bacteria may cause human disease, infections or rashes.
The Department of Health advises the public not to swim or practice other water-related activities in the nearshore waters at these locations only. This notice will remain in effect until such time as bacteriological results show that the water is safe for such purposes.