What is the Special Needs Program?
The Pasco County Special Needs Program is in place to coordinate the registration, notification, and evacuation of those citizens with physical or mental disabilities or minor health and medical conditions. Special Needs Sheltering is in place to provide assistance to those in need of extra medical assistance such as those who are oxygen dependent, electrical equipment hookups, and various other medical conditions.
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 doesn't take the place of hospitals, assisted living facilities, or long term care facilities.
Registration for the Special Needs Program can be completed through your Home Health Care Agency or Oxygen Provider, Private Care Providers, Physician's Offices, or by contacting Krista Ditoro at the Pasco County Emergency Management Office. Once you are registered in our database, you or your healthcare representative should renew your application each and every year. Registration does not mean reservation in the shelter.
Remember the following when filling out your form:
- Write in print (no cursive)
- Provide accurate phone numbers for you and your emergency contact
- Fill out one form per person who qualifies as special needs
- Registration is required annually
- Please don't forget to inform us of the death of loved ones so we can remove them from the list
Evacuation is coordinated with the Emergency Management office working with the School Board, Fire Rescue, and wheelchair transportation companies. When you fill out your registration, it is crucial that you indicate what mode of transportation you will require. You should be prepared to leave your house when the 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.
Pasco County Emergency Management will try to call you ahead of time to let you know we are evacuating residents in your area. We will ask if you want to evacuate and if you will require transportation. Please keep in mind that this notification starts 72 or more hours prior to the arrival of bad weather. This is to ensure we have enough time to safely move citizens. Once the bad weather arrives, we will not be transporting any citizens out of their homes. Please be mindful that not everyone who is registered will be called in every emergency.
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
What to Bring
What are Special Needs Qualifications?
Special Needs Shelter: Registration or Reservation?
Special Needs - What to Pack