People with Special Needs

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If you have a disability or special need, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself in an emergency. If you have family, friends or neighbors with special needs, help them with these extra precautions. Here are some practical tips for those with special needs.

Register in Advance

A Registry of People with Special Needs is maintained by Sarasota County Emergency Management.

  • If you are unable to respond independently to an emergency situation and have no other means of assistance, should you be required to evacuate your home, then you should register. 
  • Contact Sarasota County Emergency Management, People with Special Needs Office at 941-861-5000 for help with the necessary forms and registration information.
The information you provide is confidential and will be available only to Emergency Services personnel.

  • General hurricane shelters can only provide first aid, not nursing care or medical assistance.
  • Special needs shelters can provide limited medical care and oxygen, but if at all possible, a caregiver should accompany the special needs person to the shelter.
  • Keep a list of your prescribed medications and include them in your disaster kits.
  • Make sure that you have at least one to two weeks of medications both prescription and over-the-counter with you.
  • If you require a special diet you will need to have your food with you.

Keep extra:

  • wheelchair batteries
  • have a manual wheelchair available for use
  • have a walker for backup, if needed
  • oxygen
  • catheters
  • medication
  • food for guide or hearing-ear dogs or other items you might need
  • Batteries, blankets, cash, medications, non-perishable foods, water and a weather radio.

PSN Application forms (below) work best in Internet Explorer. If you use a different browser and have difficulty opening the file, save the file to your computer and then open.

PSN Application forms are being revised. Please check back soon for the new versions.

(updated 3/12/18)


Make A Plan Now

You can do this ahead an emergency:

  • Establish a personal support network.
    • This network of friends, family, and neighbors can assist in disaster preparations and getting you to a safe place.
  • Post Emergency Instructions on the refrigerator.
  • Include medication dosages, necessary equipment and emergency contacts. 

Safety tips for People with Special Needs:

  • Install fire safety devices in the home.
    •  Fire extinguishers
  • Smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light.
  • Install an alarm with strobe light outside the home to alert neighbors.
  • Test alarms and extinguishers regularly and replace smoke alarm batteries every six months.
  • Keep a flashlight, whistle, or bell handy to signal your whereabouts to others.


911 Use for Hearing Impaired Callers

Sarasota County 9-1-1 Communications Center is equipped with the TTY/TDD system.

Here are accepted abbreviations adopted to ensure accuracy.
  • GA means ‘go ahead’
  • SK means ‘stop keying’
  • Q means ‘question’
    xxx indicates a mistake

A call to 9-1-1 will always be responded with “9-1-1, what is your emergency Q GA?”

The TTY/TDD’s are designed to follow a few simple rules.

  • Punctuation is not used.
  • Contractions are written as one word.
  • Apostrophes are replaced with a single space.
  • "Hang up now” indicates help is on the way.

For more information call the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000 and ask for Public Safety Communications.