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Special-Needs Program

Medically Enhanced Sheltering / Well-Being Check / "Special-Needs" Program Overview

Those with special health or medical needs may require medically enhanced shelters and/or transportation assistance during an emergency. The medically enhanced shelter is for those individuals who are not in a care facility, such as a hospital, nursing home, or congregate living facility — those facilities should have evacuation plans in place for residents. 

The Seminole County Medically Enhanced Sheltering / Well-Being Check / "Special Needs" Program is a voluntary program for citizens who have an enhanced-medical need, such as a dependence on electricity to run a medical device, who have no alternative place to go during an emergency other than a public shelter. The Office of Emergency Management recommends using this program only as a "last resort," recommending that individuals with these medical needs should consider sheltering with relatives or friends prior to the use of a shelter. If other alternatives are not available, individuals electing to use a medically enhanced shelter, should bring bedding, medicine, and any-and-all medical supplies to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.

Criteria for Medically Enhanced Shelters

An individual should consider a medically enhanced shelter if he or she:

  • Depends on a medical device which requires electricity;
  • Has a respiratory condition requiring special equipment such as monitors or oxygen; 
  • Receives regular care from a home health-care service; and/or
  • Has other qualifying, specific medical needs; reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  

NOTE: Persons with functional needs and/or access needs can go to any shelter. All shelters in Seminole County are ADA compliant.

How to Register for a Medically Enhanced Shelter

If you feel you or a loved one would qualify for using a medically-enhanced emergency shelter, or would like to receive a well-being check after a disaster event, please complete the online registration process by clicking on the blue button above.

Individuals can register themselves or a family member. The Seminole County Office of Emergency Management or the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County will review each application for eligibility.

Home-health agencies should register their clients with the Seminole County Office of Emergency Management, which maintains a database of special-needs individuals. Individuals or families of special-needs persons may inquire with their home-health provider to verify that this is done on their behalf. 

Get A Kit — Special-Needs, Disaster-Kit Checklist

Shelter Information

Disaster-Preparedness Guide for People with Special Needs (PDF)

Responsibilities of a Person with Medical Needs and Their Caregiver

Caregivers from home-health agencies are required to establish a plan to conduct routine visits to their clients who are staying at a medically enhanced shelter. Where possible, each person staying at a medically enhanced shelter should be accompanied by one family member or one companion who can serve as their caregiver for the duration of their stay.

Once shelters are opened, if transportation is needed, please contact the Citizens Information Line at 407-665-0000.

For additional questions or assistance with registration, please contact:

Seminole County Office of Emergency Management