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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

Florida Department of Health in Madison County

A Special Needs Shelter (SpNS) is for "someone who during periods of evacuation or emergency, requires sheltering assistance, due to physical impairment, mental impairment, cognitive impairment or sensory disabilities.” Chapter 64-3, Florida Administrative Code The Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Preparedness and Response administers a statewide Special Needs Shelter Program to assist County Health Departments in addressing the special medical needs of people in their community.

Special Needs Shelters are designed to meet the needs of persons who require assistance that exceeds services provided at a general population shelter. A SpNS is a place to go when there is no room full of special need shelter people other sheltering option. Shelters may be activated during an emergency event to provide mass care for people who cannot safely remain in their home. Special Needs Shelters are intended to provide, to the extent possible under emergency conditions, an environment that can sustain an individual's level of health.

If a person is medically stable but needs help with basic tasks or uses an electronic medical device and has no other evacuation options, they should pre-register for a SpNS. Click here to register for a Special Needs Shelter. 

Eligibility for Special Needs Shelters
• People with special medical needs
• People whose care exceeds the basic first aid provided at general population shelters
• People with impairments or disabilities who are medically stable and do not require medical care
• People with disabilities are not required to go to a Special Needs Shelter. Some people with disabilities can be safely accommodated in a general population shelter.

The capabilities of each SpNS varies based upon a community's needs and available resources.