FEMA: If you have family with special needs, here's how to prepare for hurricane season

Hurricane season is only seven weeks away and FEMA wants you to start preparing now - especially if you have family members with special needs. 

FEMA suggests the following tips: 

  • Creating a support network. Check with those who can assist you, if needed. Keep a contact list in a watertight container in your emergency kit. Learn more at ready.gov/kit.
  • Planning ahead for accessible transportation for evacuation or getting to a medical clinic. Work with local services, public transportation or paratransit to identify local or private accessible transportation options.
  • Informing a support network where your emergency supplies are; you may want to give one member a key to your house or apartment.
  • Knowing location and availability of more than one facility for dialysis if dialysis is part of a health maintenance plan or routine or other life-sustaining treatment.
  • Preparing to use medical equipment if a power outage occurs.
  • Wearing medical alert tags or bracelets.
  • Making note of the best way to communicate with you in an emergency if you have a communications disability.
  • Planning how to evacuate with assistive devices or how to replace equipment if lost or destroyed. Keep model information and note where the equipment came from such as Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance.

FEMA has the following tips for people who are deaf or hard of hearing: 

  • A weather radio with text display and a flashing alert
  • Extra hearing-aid batteries
  • A TTY
  • Pen and paper in case you have to communicate with someone who does not know sign language

FEMA has the following tips for people who are blind or have low vision: 

  • Mark emergency supplies with Braille labels or large print. Keep a list of your emergency supplies on a portable flash drive, or make an audio file that is kept in a safe place where you can access it.
  • Keep a Braille, or Deaf-Blind communications device in an emergency supply kit.

FEMA has the following tips for people with a mobility disability:

  • If you use a power wheelchair, have a lightweight manual chair available as a backup. Show others how to operate your wheelchair.
  • Know the size and weight of your wheelchair, and if it is collapsible for transportation.
  • Keep an extra mobility device such as a cane or walker, if you use one.
  • If you use a seat cushion to protect your skin or maintain your balance, and you must evacuate without your wheelchair, take your cushion with you.

​​​​​​​To register with the Florida Special Needs Registry, please click here.

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