Special Needs Registry

Residents of all ages with special needs, those without transportation and the elderly, require extra attention and preparation in order to stay protected in emergencies. Putnam County County government has education programs in place to help these citizens prepare and find safe shelter, however the responsibility for storm preparation rests with individuals and their families or caregivers. That planning needs to happen early.
Emergency personnel may not be able to respond when high winds make road travel hazardous. Plan for safe shelter now.

Residents with Special Needs Should Register

Residents with certain medical conditions can get help during an evacuation. Special needs shelters will open for those requiring minimal medical assistance.
If you have your own transportation to a special needs shelter, preregistration is strongly recommended. If you are registered and need transportation to a shelter, You may bring your caregiver and/or family with you to a special needs shelter. Please note….you are not obligated to go to a special needs shelter once registered, if you have made other safe and secure arrangements.
Once Registered you will be contacted for more information. After a medical needs review, your eligibility will be assessed. If you don’t qualify for a special needs shelter, other options will be discussed with you.
Service Animals that have been individually trained to do work or perform a task for a person with a disability are allowed in any shelter; there is no registration requirement.
Pets are only allowed in pet-friendly shelters with prior registration. If you are registered for a special needs shelter and you have no other options for your pet, call Putnam County Animal Services at (386) 326-2793 to register your pet. Animal Services will make arrangements for your pet to be taken to a host home.

Special Needs Shelter Location

Assistance at a special needs shelter is limited to basic medical monitoring and back-up electricity . The shelter will be inside a school and will likely be crowded and noisy. Cots may not be available for everyone. While this is a safer location to ride out a storm, it is not for everyone. Many citizens require more comfortable accommodations.

Special Needs Supply List

Some additional items to be considered:
• A patch kit and extra inner tubes
• Gloves in case of broken glass or debris
• An extra battery and/or a converter for charging
• Talking or Braille clock
• An extra white cane, magnifier and glasses
• Mark your disaster supplies with fluorescent tape
• Extra batteries for hearing aids
• Pencil and paper for communicating emergency information
• Preprinted key phrases you would use in an emergency
• Power converter for your laptop
• Two-week supply of dressing materials, nasal cannulas or suction catheters
• Two-week supply of prescriptions
• Cooler for refrigerated medications
• Special dietary food

What to Expect from a Special Needs Shelter

The Florida Department of Health in Putnam County and School Board staff these shelters with nurses and other medical personnel.
Before going to a shelter, arrange to bring at least a two-week supply of any medications you need along with any needed portable equipment. If you have special diet requirements, be sure to pack your own special nonperishable snacks. For your own comfort, bring items such as bedding, sheets, pillows and blankets. Cots are available only on a limited basis and are not guaranteed.Special needs shelters do not have hospital beds.

Advice for all Residents with Special Needs

Whether you go to a special needs shelter or not, here’s some good advice to keep in mind when preparing for hurricane season: Start a personal support network of people you can count on during an emergency. Create an emergency health information card that is customized to you. Complete an emergency contact list with names and phone numbers of family members, friends, doctors, insurance information and hospital preferences.
Conduct an ability self-assessment. Know what you can and cannot do. Talk with your health care provider about a realistic plan. Maintain a current list of medications and at least a two-week supply. Keep important equipment and assertive devices in a consistent, convenient and secured place.

Frequently Asked Questions

• What is this program?
The Putnam County Special Needs/Evacuation Assistance Program is for individuals who have no other evacuation plan and need government sheltering and/or transportation assistance during an emergency. The program provides transportation to general shelters, special needs shelters or a healthcare facility. It also can provide special needs sheltering for those that meet the criteria and are unable to make any other arrangements for shelter during an emergency.
• How do I register?
You can fill out the form on-line and it will go to Emergency Management. The form will then be sent to the appropriate departments. They will contact you for more information and to confirm that you are entered into the program.
• How do I know if I am eligible?
For transportation, if you have no other way to get to a shelter you can register for transportation assistance. For special needs shelters, if you have no other options for sheltering and you require limited medical assistance such as oxygen, assistance with routine care and medications, or you are dependent on electricity you may qualify for the special needs shelters. Shelters do not have hospital beds, When you fill out a registration form, the Florida Department of Health in Putnam County will determine if you are eligible for a special needs shelter and advise you directly.
• What if I register and do not qualify for a special needs shelter?
If you do not qualify for a special needs shelter you will be advised by the Dept. of Health Depending on your situation, you will be directed to go to a general population shelter or we will work with you to find an appropriate medical facility where you can shelter during an emergency.
• Can this program help me at other times?
This program is activated only when we have a declared county emergency, an evacuation is ordered and shelters are opened. However, if you are registered as a special needs person, emergency management will have that information in the event of a localized situation that may require your notification or evacuation.