Special Needs Program

Special Needs Program FAQ

What is the Special Needs Registry?

The Special Needs Registry allows residents with medical needs an opportunity to provide information to Santa Rosa County so that agencies can communicate emergency preparedness, response and recovery resources to our vulnerable at risk and hard-to-reach residents. The information collected will only be shared with Santa Rosa County and interacting agencies to improve their ability to serve and will not be available to the public. F.S.252.355

What is a Special Needs Shelter?

Special Needs Shelters are temporary, emergency-type facilities capable of providing special/supervised housing to individuals whose physical or mental condition exceeds the Red Cross Disaster Health Services' level of capability for basic first aid in emergency/disaster shelters but is not severe enough to require hospitalization. Special Needs Shelters are intended to provide an environment of those requiring limited medical assistance or surveillance due to a pre-existing health problem. It is highly encouraged to seek shelter outside the area of danger. Sheltering whether it is a Special Needs Shelter or a General Shelter should be your shelter of last resort.

What process is used to determine Special Needs Sheltering?

Santa Rosa County Division of Emergency Management maintains the Special Needs registry. Pre-registering is a must for the Special Needs Shelter. Upon receiving the application, the address and appropriate fire department are verified, along with whether the applicant lives in an evacuation and/or flood zone. Santa Rosa County Department of Health reviews the medical portion of the application to assign the most appropriate shelter to meet the applicants' needs. This is why it is of the utmost importance to list all of the applicant's medical history. Once the application is returned to the Division of Emergency Management the information is entered in the database. The applicant will be sent a copy of original application with shelter assignment.

How often do I have to register or update my Special Needs application?

Bi-yearly the Division of Emergency Management will contact you to update your application to verify if your medical needs have changed. A copy of your old application will be mailed to you to review for accuracy. You can either make corrections on the application and mail back to the Division of Emergency Management or call the office and request to speak to the Special Needs Coordinator to make the changes on your application.

Do I qualify for Special Needs Sheltering?

Special Needs Shelters are designed for people whose age, frailty, mobility, functional and/or medical disability make them particularly vulnerable and at risk in disaster situations. Special Needs Shelters are designed for those individuals who have pre-existing conditions resulting in medical impairments and who have been able to maintain activities of daily living in a home environment prior to the disaster or emergency situations.

Will I be notified of a pending disaster?

Division of Emergency Management will make every effort of contacting the Special Needs client should a disaster be pending or occurring in their area. The Special Needs client may be asked to prepare to evacuate to a shelter if time permits or should the disaster be of a hazardous type incident they may be advised to shelter in place. Depending on what type of disaster and time, notification may occur through individual telephone calls, local media, emergency responders and/or Reverse 911 (high speed citizen notification system).

What if I need transportation to the Special Needs Shelter?

Be sure to mark "yes" on the Special Needs application when you submit the Special Needs application to the Division of Emergency Management. Should transportation not have been needed at the time you completed the application but you need it now to get to the shelter, be sure to advise the person calling you notifying you of a pending disaster that you will need transportation. Transportation is furnished through Santa Rosa County School District Transportation Department and Lifeguard Ambulance Service.

Can I go to the Special Needs Shelter if I reside in an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home?

Licensed healthcare facilities (nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc.) are required to manage their own facilities and have plans for the safety and wellbeing of their clients and staff. If you or a loved one are living at a healthcare facility review their evacuation plans. Chapter 119, F.S. (2006).

Can I receive my hemodialysis treatments at the Special Needs Shelter?

Hemodialysis is not provided at the Special Needs Shelter. Coordinate with your dialysis center on their plans to assure you are able to have your scheduled treatments. Contact your home medical equipment provider on their plan to assure you will have the same care prior, during and after a disaster. Section 400.925(13) and Section 400.934(20)(a)1.,F.S. Specific Authority 381.0303(6)(d), F.S. Law Implemented 381.0303(d), F.S. History-New

What is a Caregiver?

A caregiver whether a relative, or paid employee who will remain with you throughout your stay at the Special Needs Shelter. They will furnish supportive care such as assuming primary responsibility for assisting the shelteree to the bathroom, with meals, and care. They will assume responsibility for administering routine medications as in the home setting and will assume responsibility for managing oxygen and equipment.

Why do I need a Caregiver?

The nursing staff at the shelter is very limited; a caregiver is to take care of your needs as they would in your home environment. The nursing staff is there to assist should your medical needs exceed your caregiver's medical training/knowledge.