Special Needs Information

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In Florida, everyone is vulnerable to severe weather like hurricanes, especially elders. Those who live alone or without the support of family or friends must take special precautions if an emergency occurs. People who are frail or disabled (either mentally or physically) may need special assistance from family members, friends or social service agencies. Older adults who are also caregivers may require outside assistance. Excessive stress and anxiety can contribute to increased episodes of illness, particularly for persons with heart disease and other illnesses. The Hernando County Special Needs Program is in place to coordinate the registration, notification and evacuation of those residents with physical or mental disabilities or minor health and medical conditions.


Registration

Registration for the Special Needs Program can be completed through your Home Health Care or Oxygen Provider, Private Care Providers, Physician’s Offices or by contacting the Emergency Management Office at (352) 754-4083. Once you are registered, you or your healthcare representative should renew your application every year.


Notification

Evacuation notices may be made in several ways. First, we will try to call you ahead of time to let you know we are going to be evacuating residents in your area. We will ask you if you want to evacuate and if you will require transportation. Be aware that notification may be up to 72 hours prior to the arrival of bad weather. This ensures that we have time to move everyone safely before the storm. Once the bad weather has arrived, we will not be moving anyone out of their homes. Please keep in mind that not everyone who is registered will be called in every emergency. Only those residents who are in the evacuation area and/or mobile homes will be called. You may also be notified to evacuate by a Sheriff’s Office deputy, or by the Fire Department making an announcement over their public-address systems. In most cases, the first residents who will be encouraged to evacuate are those who live west of US 19 and those who live in a mobile home.


Home Health Care & Homebound Patients

Notify your health agency where you will be during a hurricane and when care can be re-established.

  • Contact your physician if you are homebound, under the care of a physician and do not have a home health agency
  • Make prior medical arrangements with your physician and register in advance with your local power company if you require respirators or other electric-dependent medical equipment
  • Check with your supplier about emergency plans if you require oxygen
  • Remember to take medications, written instructions regarding your care, special equipment and bedding if you evacuate
  • Register now at (352) 754-4083 with your County Emergency Management Agency if you need assistance in an evacuation  


Evacuation

Evacuation is coordinated by the Emergency Management Office working with the School District, Fire Rescue ambulances and wheelchair transportation companies. When you fill out your registration, it is important that you indicate what mode of transportation you will require. You should be prepared to leave your house when that transportation arrives. If you plan to evacuate yourself, know ahead of time where the Special Needs Shelter is located and what route to take to get there. Make sure you bring a companion or caregiver with you, your wheelchair, walker or cane, all necessary medical supplies and prescriptions. You may also include any special food or nutritional supplements, a blanket, sleeping bag and pillow, complete change of clothing, personal hygiene items and books or magazines.

The Special Needs Shelter is under the supervision of registered nurses from the Health Department and is staffed by a consulting physician, health professionals from home health care, a consulting mental health professional and volunteers. The shelter provides a safe, secure environment but does not take the place of hospitals, assisted living or long term care facilities.


Location

The shelter is located at Challenger K-8 School, 13400 Elgin Blvd., Spring Hill. The shelter has a limited number of blankets, cots and medical supplies. Residents are strongly encouraged to bring their own supplies and comfort items.

Read our Special Needs Shelter Quick Facts for more information on what to expect at the shelter.