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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

A special needs shelter is a temporary emergency facility capable of providing care to residents whose medical condition exceeds the capabilities of the Red Cross Shelter but is not severe enough to require hospitalization.

Manatee County Government maintains a Special Needs Registry for those residents who may need assistance with evacuation and sheltering in times of disaster. Learn more about the special needs shelter program in Manatee County by watching our new video (open in YouTube).  

In order to accommodate residents who need evacuation assistance to a Special Needs Shelter, it is most important that they pre-register in advance for placement into a shelter. This will help in determining what level of sheltering is necessary to provide residents with the appropriate level of care during an evacuation.

The Manatee County Government Special Needs Shelter web page provides Evacuation Checklists and the Special Needs Shelter Application in both English and Spanish. Please go to Special Needs Registry for more information.  

Residents with medical or functional needs may have additional considerations with their personal emergency preparedness and should prepare accordingly.  The Get Prepared video highlights three families who manage significant medical/ functional needs in their activities of daily living.  The video portrays everyday challenges, the need for personal emergency preparedness planning for all types of hazards - such as natural disaster (i.e. hurricanes), acts of terrorism, or any emergent event that would disrupt their activities of daily living.

People assigned to a Special Needs Shelter will need to bring with them all medications, medical equipment and supplies, and articles of comfort they routinely use.

Oxygen tanks will be supplied for all patients in a Special Needs Shelter that require the use of oxygen. If continuous oxygen is required, please be sure to bring a portable tank with enough oxygen to get you home from the shelter after the storm.

Supplies you SHOULD take to a Special Needs Shelter:

  • Medications and Lists of Medications
  • Special Dietary Needs (Special Diets CANNOT be accommodated in a shelter)
  • Medical Supplies, Oxygen Masks, Pulse Ox, Heart Monitor, etc.
  • Wound Care Supplies
  • Blankets/ Pillows, Air mattress
  • Towel/ Washcloth
  • Change of clothing
  • Wheelchair/ Walker
  • Personal Hygiene Items (soap, toothbrush, adult diapers, etc.)

Banned items at the shelter:

  • Illegal or illicit drugs
  • Weapons
  • Alcohol