Preparing for Hurricanes and other Possible Disasters
As the 2004 hurricanes showed, severe weather can affect Central Florida. Older adults must prepare for disasters. Make a plan and know where you will go if a storm threatens.
Special Needs Shelters
Older adults, people with disabilities or anyone else requiring assistance and planning to evacuate should go a special-needs shelter. A caregiver and the elder’s pets (in crates) may join the person needing help.
Special-needs shelters provide basic medical care and monitoring. Each county staffs and manages its own shelters. These facilities have no advanced medical equipment or medications. They cannot provide advanced medical care.
If you plan to go to a special-needs shelter, you will need to register with the county before the disaster/emergency arises. Call the phone number for your county office of emergency management or visit its county website.
Special Needs Registration Phone Numbers:
Keep written instructions about your care and take it to the shelter.
- A list of current medications
- Special dietary needs
- Oxygen requirements
- Directions for respiratory equipment and any other
electric medical equipment on which you depend
When you evacuate take:
- Your insurance cards–Medicaid, Medicare, supplements
- A two-week supply of medications
- Nonprescription medicines, such as
aspirins, antacids, etc., you may need
- Extra oxygen tanks, concentrator and nebulizer, if needed
- A three-day supply of nonperishable food and water
- Special dietary foods you must eat
- A manual can/bottle opener
- A blanket, pillow, folding chair or cot
- A change of clothing
- Other special items you may need, such as eyeglasses,
hearing aids, prosthetic devices, inhalers, thermometer,
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) papers, etc.,
- Your caregiver
Even if you do not plan to evacuate to a special-needs shelter, you should prepare. Talk with your doctor about your plans. If you use oxygen, inform the local power company. Tell your oxygen supplier about your emergency plans.
The above information is a partial list of items needed for emergency shelters, please contact your local Emergency Management office for additional information and requirements, or view the resources below.
- Florida Division of Emergency Management
This website contains valuable information about how Florida residents and visitors to the state can prepare for disasters and how citizens can become more involved in the community. Links to many resources including advice for elders, assisting pets, road and shelter status, and more.
- National Weather Service – National Hurricane Center
Comprehensive information about tropical storm formation and development along with advisories and updates to weather reports by county. Weather radio information
- State of Florida Department of Elder Affairs Disaster Preparedness Information for Elders
The Department of Elder Affairs publication — Elder Update Special Edition for the Hurricane Season (pdf) is available along with additional resources
- National Safety Council – Emergency Preparedness Plan and Checklist
- Home Emergency & Disaster Safety – Learn more about home preparedness during natural disasters with some of these helpful resources.
- Pet Disaster Preparedness – Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe.
- Natural Disasters & Severe Weather – Types of Disasters & Weather Emergencies