Special Needs Shelter Registration for Seniors  

The recent storms that hit the Florida Panhandle area have reminded us of the approaching hurricane season. The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

For some in Central Florida, the 2004 Atlantic Hurricane Season still haunts us. News and video about nearby storm damage may sometimes trigger past memories of what we experienced during the summer months of 2004. Some of us still remember how Hurricane Charley, which had been projected to hit in the Tampa Bay area, left many Central Floridians unprepared when it ended up spinning and swirling up the I-4 corridor. Hurricane Charley made landfall west of Ft. Myers, Florida, August 13 of 2004; it wobbled, and then headed north-northeast producing heavy damage all the way from Punta Gorda to Orlando, and then north of Daytona Beach.

For many locals, the 2004 August-September months remain quite vivid; living without power for countless days, standing in line buying ice, or running around trying to find gas kept us on our toes.  Downed oak trees, battery operated radios, and bright blue roof tarps were more than props for an unforgettable 2004. The unmistakable humming and rumbling of generators in some neighborhoods was a constant reminder of what some of us could have prepared for, but failed to do in advance.

Preparing for a Weather Emergency 

In addition to making hurricane season plans for our immediate family, some of us now need to consider preparations for a senior loved one. What can we do if a wheelchair-bound 87 year old lives alone, and we cannot reach her because we are out of town? 

In addition to regular shelters, Seminole, Osceola, and Orange counties have Special Needs Shelters designed to accommodate individuals who cannot be left alone in their own home and need assistance with activities of daily living. All three counties require a special needs registration form to be filled out and submitted. In case of an emergency or dangerous weather condition, each county agency will proceed with notifications, and evacuations of those listed on their special needs shelter list. 

We have listed Special Needs Shelter programs for the following three counties: 

            Orange County Special Needs Registration can be accessed online.

            Special Needs Registration contact phone: 407-836-9319

            Emergency Management contact phone: 407-836-9140 

Contact phone: 407-343-2133 

            Seminole County Office of Emergency Management

            Contact phone: 407-665-5102

What to Take to a Special Needs Shelter?

Some of the following items will be needed when going to a Special Needs Shelter: identification with picture, list of medications, prescription medications, hygiene items, diapers, pillows, needed clothing, Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) forms, and family contact information. For a more complete list, please contact the county where you reside or access the lists online: