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Special registry takes care of the handicapped

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In order to meet the special needs of persons who would need assistance during evacuations and sheltering because of physical and mental handicaps, Florida statutes mandate that each local emergency management agency in the state maintain a registry of disabled persons located within the jurisdiction of the local agency.

The mentally and physically handicapped have an extra network of support in the Florida Keys in the event of a hurricane. It’s called the special needs registry, and it’s a guaranteed ride off the islands to the mainland. Individuals are eligible to be registered if they need assistance during a hurricane evacuation because of physical, mental or cognitive impairment; have sensory disabilities; and are not served by a residential facility program.

Eligible clients are required to complete and sign the Special Needs Registry Application as well as the HIPAA Disclosure of Information and HIPAA Privacy Act forms before they will be placed on the registry. If a storm approaches, participants will be called to see if the service is needed. If so, they are advised to pack supplies, and given an approximate time the bus will arrive to take them to a mainland shelter.

Registered participants may also arrange for their pets to be evacuated. Again, the pets must be registered and clients need to fill out an extra form. The agency will make arrangements for the pet’s evacuation.

To register, visit www.monroecountyem.com, click on the Emergency Management button, and choose the “Preparedness” button at the top of the page. Under the “How Do I” link, choose special needs registry. Forms to register are available online to download.

EMERGENCY BUS

Evacuation bus stops along U.S.1

Monroe County encourages individuals living in storm surge planning zones and mobile homes to have arrangements in place to stay outside of the areas called for phased evacuations during a tropical storm or hurricane. Monroe County Emergency Management will activate specific Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-Up Stops along U.S.1 as directed by the Monroe County Sheriff Office. It is the responsibility of the residents to get to designated pick up site. The buses placed into service for the evacuation will have displays that read “EMERGENCY EVACUATION” and these buses will only travel between the Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-Up Site and the Hurricane shelter out of the county. To find a list of emergency bus stops, visit monroecountyem.com. Under the “I’m Looking For” tab at the top of the page, choose evacuation bus pickup stops.

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