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Vermont 211's Role in Disasters

Citizen Assistance Registry in case of an Emergency (CARE)

Emergencies can take many forms. Ice storms, floods, fires, major traffic accidents, and similar events can cause power outages, isolate individuals, or prompt the need for evacuation. For elders or for people with certain disabilities, such events, if prolonged, can become life-threatening if no one is available to help.

CARE was created to help. CARE’s key partners are the United Ways of Vermont, Vermont 211, Vermont 911, and Vermont Emergency Management. These agencies have worked together to provide a means for emergency responders to identify and aid CARE registrants in the event of a wide-scale emergency.

For Vermonters who may need special assistance in an emergency or evacuation, you can register for CARE online. On the CARE form, you can indicate your needs for evacuation: level of mobility, medical equipment, use of oxygen, and other details. The information is for use by emergency responders during an emergency event. Register online at Enhanced-911 here.



This is the period immediately following a disaster; it could last up to 72 hours. Generally, there is a very limited role for Vermont 211 as most calls should go to 9-1-1. Municipality, police, fire and rescue organizations are providing services. 211 will be most valuable for rumor control and fielding non-911 calls.


During this period of time, communities become hungry for information. Generally, it lasts up to 3 months. An assessment is done to see if the needs of communities can be met by municipalities, American Red Cross, etc. If the impact is great, there will be a request [by the Governor] for a federal declaration. If a federal declaration occurs, national groups will join the community in its relief and recovery efforts. Vermont 211 can offer information to the public about relief services, such as shelter and food. Vermont 211 also can collect information about individual property damages.


The period of time that communities are on the road back to normalcy. The movement from dependency on national and emergency resources to community-based resources occurs during this period of time. This period can last between 6 months to 2 years. Few, if any, national organizations remain active in the long-term recovery process.



  • Manage and track available resources and requests for resources.

  • Provide comfort and assurance for people who need a place to call.

  • Help mobilize and track offers of volunteers and donations.

  • Information for coordination of services – who is providing what, when, and for whom.

  • Rumor/information control

  • Media contact – advertise the 211 number as the easy to remember number for comprehensive information about the community’s response to the disaster.

  • Evacuation/traffic issues

  • Travelers’ aid – for people stranded in the community.

  • Identify gaps in services and help direct resources to high priority places.

  • Record and track damage as reported by the public.

  • Money management resources – understand the available federal funding streams – screen and refer callers appropriately.

  • Burial assistance – coordinate organizations that can assist in payment/delivery of services.


  • Vermont 211 has demonstrated the significant contribution it can make during an emergency (COVID-19, Tropical Storm Irene, PFOA, Train Derailments, H1N1, School Lockdown)

  • Vermont 211 continues to clarify the roles it plays during an emergency and to build relationships in advance to enable maximum performance.

  • Vermont 211 is prepared for optimum operation during an emergency through advance preparation, flexibility, and preparedness drills to respond to sustained spikes in call volume and rapidly changing information that is hard to collect but which must be managed and disseminated.