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Special Needs

The DOH in Miami-Dade County supports the health and medical needs of our most vulnerable populations during emergencies and disasters.  We work closely with the Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management, the Miami-Dade Medical Reserve Corps, and other response partners to ensure individuals who need assistance in maintaining their health during an emergency evacuation receive appropriate care.

DOH in Miami-Dade provides and coordinates medical and support staffing in medical evacuation shelters.  We urge the entire community, and especially individuals with special needs, to have a plan and make arrangements prior to a disaster to avoid delays in receiving assistance directly after an event.   Several local agencies and organizations share the responsibility of serving our vulnerable populations during emergencies. These partners, including the Miami-Dade Office of Emergency Management, American Red Cross, home health care agencies, hospitals, oxygen and durable medical equipment providers, and others, work together to plan and execute response strategies and protocols.

Special Needs Shelter Planning for Residents

Shelter To Do List:

  1. Complete an emergency contact list. Ask several relatives or friends who live outside your immediate area (between 50 and 100 miles away) to act as a clearinghouse for information about you and your family after a disaster. It is often easier to place an out-of-state long distance call from a disaster area, than to call within the area. All family members should know to call the contact person to report their location and condition. Once contact is made, have the contact person relay messages to your other friends and relatives outside the disaster area. This will help to reduce calling into and out of the affected area once the phones are working.

Register with the Emergency and Evacuation Assistance Program (E&EAP)
The Miami-Dade County Emergency & Evacuation Assistance Program (EEAP) gives evacuation support to those residents who may need specialized transportation, whose medical needs prohibit them from evacuating on their own or who may require evacuation assistance. This program may also be utilized post disaster to provide other assistance to those who are at risk due to a disability or health issues and who elected to stay at home in the event of a hurricane or other disaster.

  1. Bring specifications for adaptive equipment with you (in case it needs to be replaced). List the style and serial numbers of medical devices that you will be using in the shelter such as nebulizers, Bi-level and Continuous positive airway pressure machines. (BPAP and CPAP machines)
  1. Prepare and share emergency documents. Including important information typically needed after a disaster. Store emergency contact list and documents in your own emergency supply kit, wallet, or safe deposit box and give copies to your personal support network and out of area contact.

Copies of your emergency documents should include:

  • Proof of ownership or lease of your residence. (This is important when applying for disaster assistance after the disaster.)
  • Social security number and those of your family members.
  • Vehicle, boats, etc. - make & model, identification and license numbers.
  • Bank account numbers and credit account numbers.
  • Living Will and letter of instructions.
  • Insurance policy numbers.
  • Securities, deeds and loan numbers including company name, address and telephone numbers.
  • Photos or video of all valuables for documentation of insurance claim. (This inventory should be backed up on disk if it is on computer. Consider documenting your possessions on film with a video or camera.)

Important personal(?) documents. Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates).

Assemble your own emergency supply kit. Use a duffle bag or backpack to hold the contents of your kit, and label it with your name and phone number. Store your emergency supply kit in a place that is cool and dry, and easy for you to reach.

Things to review and update every six months:

  • Emergency Health Information Card
  • County registration data
  • Emergency Contact List
  • Emergency Supply Kit

5. Additional considerations for people with special needs:
Provide the power company with a list of all power-dependent life-support equipment and plan for an alternate power source in advance. In the event you are home alone or unable to converse with responders, display important health and medical information on your refrigerator for rapid access by first responders. Practice Assertive Communication by carrying a written copy of key phrases such as:  "I cannot read.  I can point to pictures or key words you will find in my emergency kit"  "I may have difficulty understanding what you are telling me.  Please speak slowly and use simple language."  "I forget easily; please write down information for me. "Protect monthly benefits that may be mailed to your home by enrolling in direct deposit programs.

6. Contact the Emergency Evacuation Assistance Program Office at 305-513-7700 for more resources and information. To add, change, or remove information, please contact the Call Center at 311 or 305-468-5900. Should you have any questions, please call the EEAP Hotline at (305) 513-7700

For more information, visit the Miami-Dade Office of Emergency website at:

http://www.miamidade.gov/fire/emergency-management.asp