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Special Needs

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ICE-ArrivalSpecial needs residents are individuals with health-related problems who do not qualify for admission to a public shelter operated by the American Red Cross due to the nature of their health care needs.  In the event of a hurricane, Broward County operates a Special Needs Shelter Program for qualified residents who live in an evacuation area.

If you feel you qualify for a special needs shelter, you must register in advance before the threat of a storm by calling the Broward County Human Services Department  at 954-357-6385 or TDY 954-357-5608.

Special Needs Shelters CAN accommodate:

  • Individuals who need assistance administering their own medication injections. You must bring all medications with you to the shelter.
  • Individuals who need assistance with ostomy management and catheters.
  • Individuals with minimal restrictions with daily living activities, including only minimal or no supervision from medical personnel.
  • Individuals who require minimal monitoring of an unstable medical condition.
  • Individuals who need intermittent oxygen.
  • Individuals who are incontinent because of medical conditions and are accompanied by a caregiver.

Special Needs Shelters CANNOT accommodate:

  • Individuals in a wheelchair who cannot transfer to a bed or toilet without assistance.
  • Individuals who require 24-hour electrical power for their treatment modality.
  • Individuals who are incontinent and not accompanied by a caregiver.
  • Individuals who have advanced Alzheimer's disease.
  • Individuals who need air-conditioning 24-hours a day.

Individuals with Disabilities

People with disabilities will need to decide whether to evacuate their homes and where to go when an emergency threatens. Listen to the advice of local officials. Decide whether it is better to leave the area, stay with a friend, or go to a public shelter. Each of these decisions requires planning and preparation.

Individuals Requiring Oxygen

People who need oxygen intermittently will be accommodated at Red Cross and Special Needs shelters, but they must bring a full, portable oxygen unit.  Individuals who require continuous oxygen therapy will not be accepted at Red Cross or Special Needs shelters.  If you require oxygen, check with your supplier about emergency plans.

Dialysis Patients

Dialysis patients should contact their doctor or dialysis center immediately to make arrangements for dialysis and to formulate a care plan in the event of an extended power outage.

Home Healthcare and Homebound

If you are a homebound patient contact your physician for their recommendation.  If you are receiving home health care service, check with your provider to ensure they have a hurricane plan for you.

Special Medical Needs

If you are dependent on life support systems or medical equipment that requires electricity, plan to relocate early in the event of a hurricane.  Individuals with severe medical conditions, needs or dependency should contact their service provider or the Broward County Human Services Department  at 954-357-6385 or TDY 954-357-5608.

For more information about planning for those with Special Needs contact the Broward County Human Services Department  at 954-357-6385 or TDY 954-357-5608.