Each year in March, hundreds of Lake County households receive letters asking residents to update their registration information regarding special needs shelters.
The Lake County Office of Emergency Management undertakes the annual update of the special needs database because it is important to identify which residents will need assistance when evacuating for a disaster. In all, more than 600 residents are registered for the special needs shelter program in Lake County.
The process of keeping an accurate account of every resident listed in the database is especially important. The information is needed in the event it becomes necessary for residents to evacuate their homes, such as due to a hurricane.
According to House Bill 7121 passed during the 2006 State Legislature, special needs is defined as “persons who would need assistance during evacuations and sheltering because of physical, mental, cognitive impairment, or sensory disabilities.” The bill further states: “Each local emergency management agency in the state shall maintain a registry of persons with special needs located within the jurisdiction of the local agency.”
To receive a special-needs application, download it here or call the Office of Emergency Management at 352-343-9420. Return a completed application to the Emergency Management office at room 411 of the Lake County Administration Building, located at 315 W. Main St., Tavares FL 32778. A committee reviews each application and makes a determination of the applicant’s special-needs category.
Category I — If the applicant chooses not to find alternative sheltering options, space is arranged for the applicant and caregiver at one of the County’s special-needs shelters.
Category II — The applicant should find alternative sheltering locations in the event of an emergency as their particular medical condition requires more complex care than can be provided in the County’s special-needs shelters.
Category III — The applicant is a registrant in the County’s system. This alerts emergency management officials to their condition and allows them to check on them after a disaster. The applicant can choose to find alternative sheltering options or stay in one of County’s public shelters.
To view a map of all the Lake County shelters including those with special needs, view the shelter location page.
For more information, call the Lake County Office of Emergency Management at 352-343-9420