When severe weather emergencies occur, like a hurricane, protection organizations can provide temporary emergency shelters in schools, office buildings and other facilities approved to protect inhabitants who are in danger. These spaces are classified according to the basic and special needs of the people. Therefore, it is very important to have the information of the shelters closest to your location at hand. There are two types of shelters you should be aware of:
SHELTERS FOR THE GENERAL POPULATION
This type of shelter is equipped for basic needs, such as food and water, and offers a temporary place to sleep during an emergency. A shelter for the general population can administer basic first aid, but not medical attention. You will need to carry supplies such as bedding, blankets, clothes, toiletries, hygiene items and personal medication. In addition to food and water, the resources available in shelters for the general population will vary.
SHELTERS FOR SPECIAL NEEDS
Shelters for special needs are different to shelters for the general population. If you need daily medical assistance, such as routine nursing care, help with medications, oxygen therapy, electricity for life support, medical equipment, and have nowhere else to go, you may be eligible to go to a special needs shelter. During an emergency, special needs shelters provide more medical care and supervision than a shelter for the general population. You will have to bring your medical supplies and current medications to these shelters. You can bring caregivers and service animals to accompany you. There are certain eligibility criteria that you must meet to have access to a special needs shelter. To find out if you are eligible and to pre-register, contact your county emergency management office.
Source: Florida Department of Health.