The Special Needs Program is designed to provide people with transportation to shelters during a disaster evacuation due to a hurricane, flood, or wildfire. The program registration is free, voluntary and confidential. Registration is based on persons meeting the Special Needs Program's criteria. Registrants are responsible for keeping their registration information accurate and up to date and renewing their registration each year.
Alachua County Emergency Management maintains the Special Needs registry of disabled persons within its jurisdiction in accordance with the Florida Statutes Chapter 252.355 - Registry of Persons with Special Needs.
Who Are People With Special Needs?
People who have certain physical or mental conditions or limitations, and need daily assistance by a caregiver or health provider for personal care (bathing, eating, walking, transportation, etc.) and/or medication administration or treatment for stable conditions such as:
- Arthritis, Alzheimer's, Bedridden, Cancer, Cardiac History (Stable), Diabetes, Dialysis, Electricity Dependent, Frail Elderly, Oxygen Supply Dependent, Parkinsonï¿½s, Paralysis, Post-Operation Recovery, Respiratory Problems, Seizures, Sores, Visual/Hearing Impairment, Wheelchair bound, etc.
Who is Eligible?
Any residents of Alachua County with Special Needs who:
- Do not have any local family assistance for transportation and sheltering in a disaster event such as a hurricane.
- Do not have any other option but to request public transportation and shelter.
- Live alone or with another person with Special Needs.
- Reside in unsafe housing during a storm, such as a mobile home.
- Cannot drive or access any transportation to a safe shelter.
If you, or a person you know, is eligible for the Special Needs Program, call the Division of Emergency Management to request a registration form as soon as possible (352) 264-6500. Registrations should be mailed to: P.O. Box 548, Gainesville, FL 32602.
Who is Not Eligible?
- People requiring hospital care to treat severe or advanced medical conditions are NOT eligible for this program and should make prior arrangements with their doctors for transportation and evacuation.
- Residents of Assisted Living Facilities such as nursing homes, group homes or retirement facilities. These facilities have their own emergency plans, and should be able to assist their residents with transportation and shelter.
Steps You Should Take Before Registration
- Determine with your doctor or health provider what are your medical needs and recommended treatment, supplies, prescriptions, etc. You will need to know this information when registering for the Special Needs Program so that an adequate shelter is determined to meet your needs.
- If you have local family or friends that may assist you in the event of a disaster, discuss with them your needs so they may provide you transportation or shelter. You may be more comfortable riding to a shelter with them or staying with them. Space may be limited in evacuation vehicles and shelters.
- If you do not have any local relatives or persons who can assist you with evacuation plans, transportation and shelter, register for the Special Needs Program!
- Do not wait to register for Special Needs and make evacuation plans until a hurricane threatens our area. During a disaster is the wrong time to inquire, register and make arrangements for your safety!