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Woman holding hands with senior in wheelchair. STEAR Logo

What is the STEAR Program?

In the event of an emergency some individuals may need additional assistance leaving their homes, or responding to emergency conditions by themselves.  The State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR)  allows residents to provide information on their specific situation to emergency management officials who will work to help them evacuate safely, or provide them with the appropriate life-sustaining help they need in a disaster. This information also helps emergency planners as they develop plans and procedures for assisting residents during emergencies.

Facilities who care for the most vulnerable of our population can also register their facilities with emergency management agencies, to help in the planning for and response to an emergency.

Who Should Register?

Any resident may register for assistance under the STEAR program if they have any condition, healthcare need, or situation that would require additional assistance during an emergency.  Some examples include people who:

  • Don't speak English well, or have any kind of disability which keeps them from communicating easily.
  • Individuals who may need transportation assistance during an evacuation.
  • Require electricity for life-sustaining equipment (such as life support machines, electric wheelchairs, or are insulin-dependent and require refrigeration)

You may complete registration forms for individuals who may not be able to complete the form themselves. Be sure to obtain their permission first. 

Please note that registration with STEAR does not guarantee any delivery of services by responders, and should not replace developing your own emergency plan. 

How Do I Register?

There are three ways to sign up for the STEAR Program:

How Is The Information Used?

Information provided during registration is shared with emergency planners and emergency responders to help ensure that Houston residents with access and functional needs have the services they need in an emergency.  This information is never sold, and remains confidential.

How does this work in a Hurricane?

The STEAR Program is not a guarantee of evacuation assistance. Those individuals who live in a mandatory evacuation zone (for information on hurricane zones, visit houstontx.gov/hurricanes) will be prioritized.

When a hurricane evacuation is ordered for a ZIP code in Harris County or the City of Houston, information from STEAR will be provided to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Houston-Harris County (METRO), and they will call those living in the affected area who have been identified as needing assistance evacuating. That call-taker will assist in scheduling a pick-up using the correct type of transportation (taxicab, wheelchair van, METROLift, bus, etc.).

In addition, the STEAR list will be used to identify individuals who may need health-related assistance following the impact of a hurricane. STEAR should not be used as a replacement for developing an emergency plan, as it is not a guarantee of assistance. For information on how to prepare for emergencies if you have an access or functional need, visit the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management website at houstonoem.org.

What if I don't live in the City of Houston or Harris County?

Each local jurisdiction manages their use of the STEAR program differently, or they may chose to have a local registry instead.  It's important to check with your local emergency management agency to see what they recommend. For a full list of emergency management agencies in the Houston urban area, visit readyhoustontx.gov.  

If you live outside of the Houston area, contact your local city or county for information. 

How can I promote the STEAR Program?

Agencies who regularly serve people with disabilities or senior citizens may chose to advertise the STEAR Program to their clients.  The City of Houston has developed materials that can be distributed to clients.  Click the links below to download the PDF version. 

STEAR Flyers

What If I Still Have More Questions?

You can visit our FAQs page, or call our office at (713) 884-4500 for more information on the STEAR program.

Funded by a Grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security