Before an emergency threatens, all Broward County residents should have a plan in place to help ensure their safety, including those who have disabilities and/or health issues that put them at risk in an emergency. All residents should be prepared before basic services such as water, gas, electricity or telephones are cut off for an extended period of time.
There are many resources on this website and in your community to assist you. If you are unable to prepare an emergency plan for yourself, ask a family member or friend to help you. Before a weather emergency or other disaster strikes, you should know what you need to do and where you need to go to be "Ready. Set. Safe". Follow this simple five-step plan.
- Seek emergency preparedness and response advice from your local, state and federal government, and community organizations. Find out what emergency plans are in place in your community and workplace, and with your service providers. See if those plans accommodate your special needs. Visit Broward.org/Hurricane for general preparedness information from Broward County, or ReadySouthFlorida.org.
- Talk to your physician or health care provider about a realistic plan for your safety. Know what you can and can't do and medicines you need to remain healthy.
- If you undergo routine treatments administered by a physician's office, clinic or hospital (such as dialysis), are a home healthcare client, or require oxygen supplies, call your service provider to discuss their plans for continuing service to you in an emergency.
- Consider your sheltering options and decide on a sheltering plan that is appropriate for your needs. You should have a plan, even if your plan is to shelter at home.
Pre-Register for Important Services
- Register with Broward County's Vulnerable Population Registry. This registry allows people who are disabled, frail or have health issues to register in advance with their city so that emergency workers may plan a better response to vulnerable residents in a recovery effort following a hurricane or other emergency. The Registry is not a guarantee of services, but it enables emergency workers to better respond in a recovery effort. Each city may use the Vulnerable Population Registry list in a different way, based on their city's recovery plans. For more information or to register, call 3-1-1 or 954-831-4000 or contact your municipality. This Registry does not involve sheltering or evacuation transportation.
- If you are dependent on electricity for your medical needs, or have a medical condition that cannot be supported at a General Population shelter, we recommend you pre-register for the Broward County Special Needs Emergency Sheltering and Transportation Program.
Special Needs shelter applications are available at Broward.org/AtRisk
, or contact the Broward County Emergency Management Division at 954-831-3902
, TTY 954-831-3940
to request that an application be mailed to you. The medical information your physician provides on the application will be reviewed by the nursing team at the Florida Department of Health in Broward County, and you will receive notification of your assignment.
- If you need transportation to your assigned location, you are encouraged to make arrangements in advance as part of the Special Needs shelter application process. Transportation is coordinated by Broward County Paratransit or the Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services, depending on your level of need.
Make Arrangements for Animals
- Service animals are permitted in General Population shelters so long as the pet meets the requirements under Federal law. Visit ADA Requirements for Service Animals for additional information. However, a Pet Friendly Shelter, operated by the Broward Humane Society and Broward County, is available for residents owning pets, not considered a service animal, that is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The pet-friendly shelter should be considered a shelter option of last resort for residents with animals, especially animals that are on medication, need special care or become anxious when separated from their owner.
- If you have a service animal, make sure the animal has a collar with identification. In your shelter kit, have proof that the animal's vaccinations are up to date, and a copy of written instructions for your animal's care. You are responsible for caring for your service animal during your stay in a shelter. Refer to the Pet Survival Kit Checklist for pet supplies to be brought to the shelter.
- Broward County has one Pet-Friendly Shelter at Millennium Middle School in Tamarac. Pre-registration of pets is recommended, but not required. Pets and owners will be housed in different buildings at adjacent facilities. To register, call 954-989-3977, and press 7, or visit humanebroward.com.
Prepare Important Documents
- Make a list of your Personal Support Network – the people you can count on to help you before, during and after an emergency. Document contact information (home, work and cell phone numbers) for each person on the list, including family members, friends, coworkers and neighbors. The individuals in your Personal Support Network should be familiar with your functional abilities and limitations.
- Create a Personal Information Card with all your health information (doctors, insurance policy numbers, hospital preferences, current medications, medical conditions, etc.) Identify your disability-related or special medical needs.
Prepare Equipment and Collect Supplies
- Place identification labels on any medical support equipment you would take to the shelter with you, such as wheelchairs, walkers and nebulizers.
- Collect your emergency supplies early. Supplies will vary, depending on whether you choose to go to a shelter or stay at home. Broward County has created a convenient shopping guide that can help you spread the expense of purchasing emergency supplies over eight weeks. View Hurricane Shopping Guide.
- Keep ample supplies of prescription and non-prescription medications on hand, especially during hurricane season, June 1 through November 30.