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Special Needs Shelter Information

Florida Department of Health in Pasco County

COVID-19 and Pasco County Special Needs Shelter 2020

The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County has two Special Needs Shelters (SpNS). The West Pasco Special Needs Shelter is located at the Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter in Hudson. The East Pasco Special Needs Shelter is located at Wiregrass High School in Wesley Chapel.

The SpNS should be used as a place of last refuge. If the client has a caregiver, the caregiver MUST accompany the client and MUST remain with the client at the SpNS.

(Please click on the underlined links below for more information.)

Special Needs Shelter Fact Sheet in English (PDF 305KB)
Special Needs Shelter Fact Sheet in Spanish (PDF 298KB)

Pasco County Disaster Preparedness Guide in English
Pasco County Emergency Management
Pasco County Evacuation Zones Map
Pasco County Special Needs Registry

Special Needs Shelters: Registration Vs. Reservation (Video)

There’s been some confusion with the process of registering for a SpNS. Many people are under the impression that once they’ve registered for a SpNS, they’re automatically reserved a bed in the SpNS when a hurricane is coming. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Registration does NOT guarantee you a reservation at a SpNS.
  • You must register BEFORE the hurricane season begins.
  • To register online, go to 
  • If you are in an evacuation zone and have registered for a SpNS, Pasco County Emergency Management (Pasco EM) will contact you to confirm that you will be reporting to a SpNS.
  • If needed, upon request, Pasco EM will provide transportation to and from the SpNS.

What are Special Needs Qualifications? (Video)

*Due to social distancing, there is not enough space available at the shelter for caregivers to use air mattresses.

Who qualifies to be in a SpNS?

  • Oxygen dependent
  • Electrical dependent for medical equipment
  • Insulin dependent diabetics who require minimal assistance
  • Minor wound care dressing
  • Memory impaired/Dementia patients

Some examples of those who may not be suitable for a SpNS are:

  • Tracheotomy patients
  • Recent unstable cardiac patients
  • Bed-bound patients
  • Obese patients
  • Ventilator patients
  • High-risk pregnancy within four weeks of delivery or in active labor

Special Needs Shelter - What To Pack (Video)

*Due to social distancing, there is not enough space available at the shelter for caregivers to use air mattresses.

If a client is qualified and suitable for a SpNS, here’s what the client needs to bring with them to the SpNS during an evacuation:

  • A caregiver
  • Bed sheets, blankets and pillow for client's bed
  • Client’s prescription and non-prescription medication (with original bottle) needed for 7-30 days
  • Supplies and medical equipment for the client’s care and the supply and equipment list from the home health agency
  • The phone, pager and emergency numbers for the client’s physician, pharmacy and, if applicable, oxygen supplier
  • Oxygen tanks and concentrator to get to and from the shelter safely
  • CPAPs and nebulizers
  • Name and phone number for the client’s home health agency
  • A copy of the client’s plan of care
  • Original yellow Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form signed by physician, if applicable
  • Identification, current address and insurance card
  • Special diet items (e.g. dialysis patients), non-perishable food for 7-10 days
  • Glasses, hearing aids and batteries, prosthetics, walkers and/or wheelchairs, and any other assistive devices
  • Personal hygiene items for 7-10 days
  • Extra clothing for 7-10 days
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Closed-toe shoes
  • Self-entertainment and recreational items, like books, magazines, quiet games, etc.

Some important things to remember:

  • If the client has a caregiver, the caregiver must accompany them, if possible.
  • Caregivers who regularly assist the clients in the home are expected to continue to provide the same care in the shelter. 
  • Each caregiver will be provided a chair at their client’s bedside. (Due to social distancing, there is not enough space available at the shelter for caregivers to use air mattresses.)
  • Service animals are allowed in the shelter and may remain with their owners. Emotional support animals are also allowed in the shelter but will be housed in a separate shelter area; clients may spend time with their emotional support animals in this separate area. Please bring food, water, leash and crate for your animal.
  • Bring personal snacks, drinks and any special dietary foods for 7-10 days. It is possible only sparse meals will be provided. 
  • It tends to be cold in the shelter, so bring warm clothes, like a sweater or jacket, and an extra blanket for your caregiver.
  • All items brought to the shelter must fit under your bed.

Remember…preplanning is essential for everyone’s safety. Make your emergency plans BEFORE there’s an evacuation. Don’t wait until a hurricane is coming to register for a SpNS.