With Hurricane Season underway, Florida Emergency Management officials want residents to be aware of a program aimed at helping people with special needs during an emergency situation.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon says the statewide Special Needs Registry applies to those whose needs go beyond what a regular shelter can provide.
“For example, if you were vision or hearing impaired, if you were oxygen dependent, dependent upon some other medication that requires a higher level of medical supervision, you have special ambulatory needs—those kinds of things,” said Koon.
Emergency situations where a person may need a special needs shelter include hurricanes, floods, or an extended power outage. And, Koon says signup is available year-round.
“You know, normally you get a real rush of influx of people who register right before a hurricane, but we encourage people to sign up as soon as they’re aware of it, so that if there’s any other kind of situation that may require its usage, that they’re already in the system,” he added.
Originally, counties were responsible for maintaining their own Special Needs Registry. After the Legislature put money in the budget last year, Koon’s agency took over that task statewide. For more information, visit FloridaDisaster.org.
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