Disaster Preparedness

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:

Brevard County
321-637-6670
Brevard County Information
Orange County
407-836-9140
Orange County Information
Osceola County
321-832-6172
Osceola County Information
Seminole County
407-665-5102
Seminole County Information

Keep written instructions about your care and take it to the shelter.

This includes:

  • 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.

Additional Resources:

  • 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.