Health Department Urges Preparation for those with Special Needs
With Tropical Storm Isaac likely to be upgraded to hurricane status and expected to be near the Florida coast by this weekend, the Orange County Health Department is reminding families with special needs to plan now.
The Orange County Health Department (OCHD) is committed to the community’s well being as it staffs special needs shelters that may be opened during tropical storms and hurricanes.
People with disabilities need to be aware of special needs shelters that may become available and can be utilized by those with no other alternatives and who need transportation assistance to evacuate and/or have a health/medical condition that requires medical attention in a shelter.
“In the event of a disaster, your county health department stands ready to assist you or your loved ones who may have health or medical conditions and need to be in a special needs shelter. If a storm is approaching, check with your doctor or your pharmacist and make sure you bring 30 days of medication with you for use during and after the disaster,” said OCHD Director, Dr. Kevin M. Sherin.
During this time of year, all Floridians must heighten their awareness and personal responsibility in order to properly prepare for hurricane season. If during planning, an individual with special medical needs determines that they are unable to evacuate the disaster area and must seek shelter from the storm, they should register with the Orange County Special Needs Program as a person with special needs. To register, call 407-836-9319 or go to http://www.orangecountyfl.net/EmergencySafety/EmergencyMedicalServices.aspx and click on Emergency Medical Services. Once registered you will receive automatic alerts regarding what to do during an emergency.
Before a disaster remember to:
· Review your family disaster plan, check supplies and expiration dates.
· Have family meetings a couple of times each year to discuss how the family is prepared to remain safe during a disaster.
· Predetermine your shelter in place or evacuate criteria. If you must evacuate, have a predetermined meeting place so that no one goes back into harm’s way to search for someone who is safe.
· Encourage all family members to express their concerns about what might happen and what the plans are to deal with the various situations.
· Stay informed through trusted local and state authorities.
A disaster supply kit for your home or an evacuation plan should include items in six basic areas: (1) water, (2) food, (3) first aid supplies and medications, (4) clothing and bedding, (5) tools and emergency supplies, and (6) important family documents.