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You are here: Home > County Offices > Fire Rescue > Emergency Management > First Steps > Be Informed > Special Needs > Frequently Asked Questions
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What happens in case our area is threatened by a hurricane or storm and evacuations are issued?

Approximately 48-24 hours before a hurricane impacts our area, Emergency Operations Operators make phone calls to make evacuation arrangements to all Special Needs Registrants who have expressed a transportation need to a shelter on their registration forms. These evacuation calls are made to the home telephone numbers indicated on registration forms. Make sure you have provided our office with your correct and current home telephone number. At the time you are called, if you accept transportation assistance, the operator will confirm your physical home address and a pick up time and location are arranged. You must pack and be ready to leave when transportation arrives to take you to the shelter.

What supplies should I pack to bring to the shelter?

You are responsible for packing and bringing the following necessary personal items to accommodate your needs for at least 48 hours: * Medications/Medical Supplies: daily prescriptions (Two-week supply). * Oxygen supply, glasses, hearing aids, walker, wheelchair, etc. * Important Papers: personal identification, family phone numbers (local and out of area), copies of prescriptions, doctor's name and phone number. * Personal Items: comfortable, extra clothing, toothbrush, paste, soap, towel, etc. * Comfort Items: blankets, sleeping bag, pillow, lightweight folding chair. * Entertainment Items: books, magazines, cards and games. * Special Dietary Foods (Optional): If you require a special diet, bring non-perishable food and a can opener.

What if a caregiver (or spouse) is accompanying me to the shelter?

You should let the operator know if someone will accompany you and need transportation. This person must be picked up at the same time and location as you and bring his/her own supplies to the shelter.

What if I refuse or decline evacuation transportation assistance at the time an operator calls?

If you decide to stay home and refuse assistance for any reason, you may not be contacted or offered transportation assistance at a later time. However, you will be contacted for the next incident which requires an evacuation.

What if I will be transporting myself to the shelter?

Before going to the shelter, make sure you check local media advisories for shelter information such as shelter opening times and locations. Do not forget to pack your shelter supplies.

What if I need special transportation because I am unable to move or walk and need a wheelchair or stretcher?

You should inform the operator so that an appropriate vehicle arrives to pick you up. Evacuation staff needs your written authorization to enter your residence to move you. If your condition calls for this type of evacuation assistance, make sure to read and sign this authorization section found on the back of your Special Needs Registration Form.

What if I did not express a transportation assistance need on my registration form and need transportation to the shelter?

After all persons who have expressed a transportation need on their forms have been contacted, operators will make the effort to call persons who have not expressed this need.

What happens when I arrive at the shelter?

Upon arrival to the shelter, you will be asked to sign-in, for record-keeping purposes.

What happens after a hurricane or storm conditions pass?

Once weather and other conditions are considered to be safe by local officials, shelter occupants can return to their homes. Transportation is provided to those without transportation access.

When making evacuation plans, please keep the following in mind:

Hurricane Season starts June 1 and ends November 1. Register for the Special Needs Program or confirm or update your existing registration information before the season starts so our office is able to contact and help you. * Discuss your evacuation plans with local and out-of-town relatives or friends. * Determine what your medical needs are by consulting your healthcare providers. * Shelters only provide temporary and basic accommodations. They are not clinics or hotels. * Space and time are critical during an evacuation. Bring only the necessary supplies to the shelter. And be packed and ready to evacuate when transportation arrives to pick you up.

Make appropriate arrangements for your pets before an evacuation.

You are responsible for making arrangements and preparing a pet survival kit for your pet (water, food, carrier, and vaccination/identification papers.) Check with Alachua County Animal Services (352) 955-2333 or local pet clinics, kennels.





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