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Special Needs Shelter Program

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Special Needs Shelter Program

Okeechobee County has established a Special Needs Shelter Program to assist those with some medical issues during a major emergency.

Emergency Management is responsible for maintaining the client rosters, operational logistics, and coordination of the Special Needs Shelter. Space at these shelters is limited, so registration is required. A person with special needs may be any age.

To register, please submit a completed registration form and submit to Emergency Management for review in coordination with the Florida Department of Health - Okeechobee.

  • Special Needs Shelter —The Special Needs Shelter is a facility with nurses on staff.  It has auxiliary electrical power, is wind resistant, and is not flood-prone. The shelter is not a medical facility and provides only limited services and supervision. The shelter does not provide medication, dialysis, oxygen, or oxygen concentrators.
    This type of shelter has limited capacity and therefore requires pre-registration. Based on the following
    eligibility guidelines, prioritization for the special needs shelter is as follows:
  1. Any person requiring oxygen that can be manually supplied.

  2. A person medically dependent on uninterrupted electricity for therapies including, but not limited to: oxygen, nebulizer, CPAP/Bi-PAP, and feeding tubes. NOTE: Persons requiring a ventilator or those with multiple special needs requiring a higher level of care may be referred to a skilled medical facility.

  3. A person with mental or cognitive limitations of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia requiring the assistance of a full-time caregiver. NOTE: The caregiver is required to remain with them for the duration of the shelter event.
  • General Population Shelter - General population shelters provide a safe haven in the event persons must evacuate their homes, and have no other alternative. Persons evacuating to a general population shelter should bring their supplies such as blankets, toiletries/hygiene items, medication, and clothing. All shelters in Okeechobee County meet the ADA requirements. 

To print the 2020 Special Needs Form, click here:

2020 Okeechobee Special Needs Registration Form - Revised PDF and ADA

Printed forms may also be picked up at any of the following locations:

  • Okeechobee Senior Services 1690 NW 9th Avenue Okeechobee, FL
  • Okeechobee County Library 206 SW 16th Street; Okeechobee, FL 
  • Okeechobee County BOCC Administration Office 304 NW 2nd Street, Room 123; Okeechobee, FL

The Special Needs Application form is considered and treated as a confidential medical document. These records do not fall under public records laws.  Please contact our office for more information on this program.

All completed applications must be mailed or hand-delivered to:

Okeechobee County Emergency Management
707 NW 6th Street
Okeechobee, FL 34972
Phone: (863) 763-3212