Special Needs Preparation

A new resource, developed by Volunteer Florida and hosted by the Florida Division of Emergency Management, is one of several tools available to help persons with disabilities and their families develop a "Florida specific" Disaster Plan.

Find them online here.

Where will the Special Needs Shelters be located?

The links provided are contact information for your county Special Needs Registry. The information we are able to provide varies: some counties have registration forms available online in a downloadable format or that can be electronically submitted, while others may have only a telephone number for registration.

Who qualifies for a Special Needs Shelter?

Evacuees with any of the following could possibly qualify for a Special NeedsShelter:

  • Physical or mental handicaps that limit their ability to function on theirown
  • Requirements for special equipment or medication to sustain life
  • A chronic, debilitating medical condition that requires intermittent assistance

Individuals will be triaged, or interviewed about their special medical needsand conditions, in order to determine eligibility for Special Needs Shelters.Those who think they may qualify for Special Needs sheltering will need to callone of the nine toll-free shelter hotline numbers listed below prior to an evacuation in order to be interviewed and find out their eligibility status. These toll-free shelter hotlines are NOT currently activated, but will be activated immediately before a storm. The shelter hotline numbers will be published or broadcast through local media when they are activated.

Those who do not meet eligibility requirements will be referred to generalshelters. Acutely ill individuals will be referred to local hospitals.

Special Needs Registry Contact Information by County

Alachua | Baker | Bay | Bradford | Brevard | Broward | Calhoun | Charlotte | Citrus | Clay | Collier | Columbia | DeSoto | Dixie | Duval | Escambia | Flagler | Franklin | Gadsden | Gilchrist | Glades | Gulf | Hamilton | Hardee | Hendry | Hernando | Highlands | Hillsborough | Holmes | Indian River | Jackson | Jefferson | Lafayette | Lake | Lee | Leon | Levy | Liberty | Madison | Manatee | Marion | Martin | Miami-Dade | Monroe | Nassau | Okaloosa | Okeechobee | Orange | Osceola | Palm Beach | Pasco | Pinellas | Polk | Putnam | St. Johns | St. Lucie | Santa Rosa | Sarasota | Seminole | Sumter | Suwannee | Taylor | Union | Volusia | Wakulla | Walton | Washington

What to bring to a Special Needs Shelter:

The patient and caregiver should bring supplies for a five-day trip. These suppliesshould include:

  • Medications in their prescription bottles and all over-the-counter medications.Ask your pharmacist to print a list of your medications to bring with you.
  • Written instructions regarding medical care
  • Walker, wheelchair, cane or other special supplies and equipment such asa urinal
  • Special, non-perishable dietary foods, such as Ensure
  • Bedding, air mattress
  • Clothes
  • Personal hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap,towels, etc.
  • Identification, medical insurance, social security cards and emergencycontact information.
  • Drinking water (one gallon per day)
  • Extra eyeglasses
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Garbage bags
  • Style and serial numbers for medical devices (such as pacemakers)
  • Food for guide or service dog (if applicable)

All medications and important paperwork should be placed in a water-proof containersuch as a zip lock bag or plastic container. Home Health and Hospice patientsshould bring their folders. Hospice patients need to bring DNR (Do Not Resuscitate)orders.

Due to limited space at the shelters, oxygen patients should make arrangementsahead of time with their suppliers to obtain oxygen concentrators.

One caregiver must stay with the patient within the shelter and only serviceanimals are allowed to accompany the patient and caregiver. Since space is extremelylimited and the caregiver will share a space with the patient, alternative arrangementsshould be made for other family members and pets.

For more information on Special Needs Shelters and emergency preparedness,visit the Stay Healthy Louisiana Web site at www.stayhealthyla.org

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