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With Hurricane Season Underway, Residents Encouraged To Join Special Needs Registry

MGN Online

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.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.