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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Special Needs Shelter Program

Florida Department of Health in Dixie County

Special Needs Shelter Program 

A Special Needs Shelter (SpNS) is a place to go when there is no other sheltering option. Shelters may be activated during an emergency event to provide mass care for people who cannot safely remain in their home. Special needs shelters are designed to meet the needs of persons who require assistance that exceeds services provided at a general population shelter. Special needs shelters are intended to provide, to the extent possible under emergency conditions, an environment that can sustain an individual's level of health.

During a disaster, special needs shelters are designed to care for people who do not require hospitalization but have the following needs:

  • Require oxygen therapy
  • Unable to take medications or monitor vital signs without assistance
  • Have chronic conditions requiring assistance with daily life activities
  • Health/medical conditions requiring professional observation or assistance
  • Health conditions that require isolation and cannot be in a public/general shelter

Florida Special Needs Registry 

The Florida Division of Emergency Management, in coordination with each local emergency management agency in the state, developed a registry to allow residents with special needs to register with their local emergency management agency to receive assistance during a disaster. The registry also allows facilities that provide assistance to individuals with special needs a system to register. The statewide registry provides first responders with valuable information to prepare for disasters or other emergencies.

Please visit the Florida Special Needs Registry website for more information and to register.