What is a Special Needs Shelter (SpNS)?

When a major disaster threatens Charlotte County residents, medically dependent individuals may need to seek shelter in residents can continue with their oxygen needs and where limited medical assistance can be provided. The special needs shelter will have medical staff on hand to assist with basic medical assistance.

It is important to keep in mind that a special needs shelter is a shelter of last resort. It is even more imperative that a person who has medical needs and cannot care for him or herself have a disaster plan to address his/her needs. Special needs shelter should only be relied upon as a back up to an already well thought out plan.

What does a SpNS offer?

A special needs shelter will provide shelterees with

  • Basic food and water. If you are on a special diet, you will have to bring non-perishable food items with you.

  • Basic medical assistance and monitoring will be available from qualified health care professionals; however, any advance medical care or equipment is not available.

  • Back-up electricity and liquid oxygen will also be made available.

  • Space for yourself and a caregiver

  • Space for service animals only. There are no other pets allowed. You must make arrangements for your pet prior to entering a special needs shelter.

I qualify but is there any reason why I would not be allowed to stay in the shelter?

Yes. There are several factors that could prohibit you from staying at the shelter.

  • If you have a mental illness, you must have an able-bodied caregiver with you or else you cannot stay at the shelter

  • You must have your medication with you in the shelter. You cannot be admitted without your life sustaining medications.

  • If you are reliant on any medical equipment and do not come with them, you will not be admitted. We do not provide wheelchairs, walkers, and etc.

How do I get there?

Please make every effort possible to arrange for your own transportation. Charlotte County cannot guarantee transportation. However, registrants that require transportation to a Public or Special Needs shelter can pre-register. Transportation is not provided to other private home, hotels, etc. If a storm approaches, you should listen to local media for evacuation recommendations. Special Needs Assistance or transportation Assistance should be used only as a last resort.

You may qualify if:
  • You need assistance with basic everyday tasks
  • You have a chronic condition that requires assistance but not hospitalization
  • You are oxygen dependent

Contact the Office of Emergency Management for a SpNS application:
941-833-4000

I am qualified!
What do  I bring?

I'm on DIALYSIS
How can I be prepared?

I don't qualify.
What now?

Charlotte County Special Needs Shelter has limited availability and limited medical care available. In order to give the best care possible under the emergency circumstances, we do not accept the following categories into the shelter (this is not all inclusive):

  • Bedridden patients- There are no hospital beds in the shelter. This is an emergency shelter with only low level cots

  • Dialysis (hemodialysis and Peritoneal)-  SpNS shelter does not have the staff or the proper equipment to support dialysis patients.

  • 300+ pound- Due to the capacity of the SpNS cots, we cannot accept patients 285 pounds and over.

  • Ventilator dependent- SpNS shelter does not have the staff or the proper equipment to support ventilator dependent patients

  • Mental unstability- The SpNS is not equipped with the appropriate staff or facility to meet the needs of the patient. In addition, any person who is combative, proven to wander or exhibits violent tendencies is a potential threat to themselves, staff, and shelterees.

  • Third Trimester Pregnancy

  • Patients requiring isolation (MRSA/TB)

  • IV Therapy


For information after business hours please call 941-624-7200.

Department of Health Mission: To protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.
 

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