In Florida we are particularly vulnerable to severe weather like hurricanes. Elders are especially susceptible to their effects. Those who live alone, or are without the support of family or friends, must take special precautions in the event of an emergency situation. 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 & medical conditions.
Special Needs Brochure

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

Notification that an evacuation has been encouraged or ordered 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, and we will ask you at that time 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 insures 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. Not everyone who is registered will be called! Only those residents that are in the evacuation area and mobile homes will be called. Another way you may be notified to evacuate is by one of the Sheriffs Office Deputies 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.
  • If you are homebound and under the care of a physician, and do not have a home health agency, contact your physician.
  • If you require respirators or other electric dependant medical equipment, you should make prior medical arrangements with your physician. You should also register in advance with your local power company.
  • If you require oxygen, check with your supplier about emergency plans.
  • If you evacuate, remember to take medications, written instructions regarding your care, special equipment and bedding with you.
  • If you need assistance in an evacuation, please register NOW with your County Emergency Management Agency. CALL: 352-754-4083
Disaster Planning Tips for Older Adults

Evacuation is coordinated by the Emergency Management Office working with the School Board, 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 some reading material like 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.

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. Oxygen is provided at the shelter by local oxygen companies.
FLE Accreditation Site
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