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. Shelters do not require pre-registration, but it is encouraged.
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. Each city may use the Vulnerable Population Registry list in a different way, based on their city's recovery effort. For more information or to register, call 3-1-1 or 954-831-4000. This Registry does not involve sheltering or evacuation transportation.
- If you plan on going to a Special Needs Shelter, pre-registration is encouraged to ensure that the shelter is adequately prepared to meet your needs. If you pre-register, you are not obligated to go to the shelter in an emergency. You can change your plans without notice if you make other arrangements. To pre-register, call Broward County Emergency Management at 954-831-3902 (TTY 954-831-3940) or complete the registration form online.
- Pre-register for evacuation transportation if you think you may need it. As with shelter registration, you are not obligated to take advantage of the service if your plans change. To pre-register, call Broward County Emergency Management at 954-831-3902 (TTY 954-831-3940) or complete the registration form online.
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 is available for residents owning pets, not considered a service animal, and are living in evacuation areas or mobile homes.
- 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.
- Make other arrangements for any pets you may have, as pets other than service animals cannot be accommodated in the shelters.
- Broward County has one Pet-Friendly Shelter at Millennium Middle School in Tamarac. Pre-registration of pets is required, and owners are expected to shelter with their pets and provide care for them. 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.