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Special Needs Shelter

Contact Us

  •  904-253-1270



    Mailing Address

    921 N. Davis St. 

    Bldg. A, Suite 251 

    Jacksonville, FL 32209 

Special Needs Shelters (SpNS) are defined as structures that have auxiliary power and are capable of providing safe refuge for people who require assistance with the management of a health condition or supervision of that condition by a health care professional during the time of disaster.

The special needs services provided during an emergency are supplied, when practical, in an environment that can help to sustain pre-disaster levels of health. Special needs shelters are truly identified as facilities of last refuge for those persons in the community with health and medical conditions.

The staffing, management and operation of a Special Needs Shelter are the shared responsibility of the Florida Department of Health in Duval County, local Emergency Management (EM), County Government, Community Partnerships, Florida Department of Health and the Division of Emergency Management.

During a disaster, Special Needs Shelters are designed to care for people who do not require hospitalization but have the following needs:

  • Require oxygen therapy
  • Unable to take medications or monitor vital signs without assistance
  • Have chronic conditions requiring assistance with daily life activities
  • Health / medical conditions requiring professional observation or assistance
  • Health conditions that require isolation and cannot be in a public / general shelter

Registration for a Special Needs Shelter is highly recommended to ensure the appropriate placement into a shelter.

Call (904) 255-3110 to register for Special Needs Shelters or visit the City of Jacksonville Special Medical Needs Registration webpage for registration information.

It is important that those needing transportation or special needs care register with emergency management as soon as the need becomes apparent. Do not wait until an urgent situation such as a hurricane or wildfire is on your doorstep, it may be too late!

Due to limited resources, it is strongly suggested that you pursue evacuation plans with family, friends, neighbors, church organizations, etc. If you live in a manufactured or mobile home park or condo, ask about your association’s disaster plan. If you must evacuate to a special needs shelter, you must have a friend or relative accompany you as your caregiver.

Persons requiring skilled nursing care, life support, etc. should discuss evacuation and sheltering needs with their doctor and health care agency PRIOR TO HURRICANE SEASON. Evacuation to a nursing home or hospital may be necessary.

How do you know you can go to a Special Needs Shelter? 

1. You have a MEDICAL or PHYSICAL NEED that may require professional assistance during an evacuation and sheltering situation but do not require transportation.
2. You have a MEDICAL or PHYSICAL NEED that may require professional assistance during an evacuation and sheltering situation and ALSO require transportation.
3. Your ONLY RECOURSE is a shelter and/or you need TRANSPORTATION. Please note: If your only need is transportation, you will be sheltered in an American Red Cross Shelter.