Special Medical Needs Information

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The Division of Emergency Management and several County Departments in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health at St. Lucie County operate a Special Needs Shelter for individuals who seek shelter from a disaster and need medical assistance. Those who have a medical condition that does not meet requirement for hospital admittance but needs medical assistance can be eligible for the Special Needs Shelter.

 This shelter is located at the

Havert L. Fenn Center
2000 Virginia Avenue
Fort Pierce, FL 34982

For additional information on how to register for the Special Needs Program contact the Department of Public Safety 772-462-8100.  


Special-needs-shelter-interiorWhat is a Special Needs Shelter?

The intent of a Special Needs Shelter is to provide, to the extent practicable, under emergency conditions, an environment in which the current health of evacuees can be sustained.  To register you must visit: www.stlucieco.gov/specialneeds

What is a Public Shelter?

Public Shelters open during emergency situations when people must evacuate their homes.  One should be aware of local shelter locations, but never report to a shelter unless local media has announced openings. Schools are typically used as public shelters. If you have transportation, public shelter registration is not needed. For public shelter locations, visit: www.stlucieco.gov/departments-services/a-z/public-safety

If transportation is required, register with St. Lucie County Public Safety.

**Due to limited space in the Special Needs Shelter, only the caregiver can accompany the special needs client**

If transportation is required, register with St. Lucie County Public Safety. To register for transportation to a public shelter visit: www.stlucieco.gov/specialneeds

What kind of emergencies require evacuation?

St. Lucie County Public Safety informs the public when a situation is life threatening and when one must leave their home for safety.  Examples of life threatening situations are hurricanes, chemical spills, or other accidents that produce life threatening conditions. 

Who qualifies as Special Needs?

Individuals with health conditions requiring electricity for medical equipment or daily assistance with medical assessment and care.

Where should Special Needs qualified people go in response to an evacuation order?

Individuals with health conditions, like other residents, have several choices of where to go during an evacuation order. Including:

  • Leaving the area
  • Staying with a friend in a safe location


Special-needs-shelter-volunteerGoing to a Special Needs Shelter

How do I know if I am eligible to go to a Special Needs Shelter?

Special Needs Shelter eligibility is defined as follows;

  • Dependent upon health professional to administer injectable medication.
  • Require daily or more frequent dressing changes by a professional.
  • Assistance by a professional with ostomy management, continuous peritoneal dialysis, or indwelling catheters of any kind.
  • Daily activities that are so restricted by immobility that their basic medical needs must be met by others.
  • Requires daily assessment of unstable medical condition by professional nursing personnel, i.e., diabetes, cardiac, cystic fibrosis.
  • Terminally ill patients who needs professional assistance for administering heavy doses of medication.
  • Depend on oxygen therapy.
  • Bedridden and require custodial care upon advise of a physician.
  • Depend upon electrically energized equipment within his or her residence. Excluding electric wheel chair.
  • Need of Cognitive (Dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc.) care.

Items to bring to a shelter

A Special Needs Shelter will provide you with shelter.  Each individual must bring other items needed for minimal comfort.  Some items may include:

  • Cots, pillows, blankets, linens.

    Cots are provided for Special needs clients ONLY at the Special Needs Shelter. Caregivers will have to provide their own cot or equivalent.

  • 3 day supply of non-perishable food for individual preference or dietary needs also 1gallon of water per person per day.
  • Medications in prescription bottles, medical supplies, medical equipment i.e oxygen concentrators, portable oxygen bottles.
  • Personal items; important papers, glasses, hygiene articles, clothing, flashlight, quiet games i.e. cards, book
  • Only service animals are permitted in Special Needs shelters.
  • Pets are NOT permitted in Special Needs shelters.


For Special Needs Registration, Click Here