Each year, an average of eleven tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Being prepared for a hurricane includes taking action before a hurricane strikes to lessen the damage and personal danger these storms can cause. You can take precautions long before a storm arrives to minimize the damage a hurricane can do to your possessions and improve your chances of coming through the storm safely.
The Health Department's Role
The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County (DOH-Santa Rosa) works closely with Santa Rosa County Emergency Management to coordinate the response to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, flooding, and large communicable disease outbreaks, etc. Joint community efforts are necessary to ensure the safety of food and water supplies during the disaster and recovery phase as well as availability of public information as it pertains to the community's health after a disaster.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms: storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. This means it is important for your family to have a plan that includes the "All Hazards Approach." To help you and your family prepare for a natural disaster like a hurricane, the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters recommends having a disaster kit that will sustain an individual for 7 days. Visit their website and click on Resources to find information on how to prepare your family’s disaster kit, including ways to ensure you will have enough prescription medications for at least 7 days.
Shelters are provided for public use when emergency evacuation becomes necessary and if you have no other place to go. The Santa Rosa County Emergency Management website has information concerning local shelters.
Special Needs Shelter
For information about the Special Needs Shelter and who is qualified for sheltering, go to the Special Needs FAQ section of the Santa Rosa County Emergency Management website.
Pre-registering is required for the Special Needs Shelter. DOH-Santa Rosa reviews the medical portion of the application to assign the most appropriate shelter to meet the applicant's needs. To register, go to the Application section of the Santa Rosa County Emergency Management website.
Pet Friendly Shelter
A pet-friendly shelter is available for county residents who wish to shelter with their cat or dog. To utilize the pet friendly shelter, all pets must have proof of current vaccinations. The only pets allowed in the shelter are cats and dogs. Upon arrival at the shelter pictures will be taken of pets with their owners. Pet owners must stay at the shelter, and will be responsible for caring for their pet and bringing a pet disaster kit. Pet disaster kits should be prepared now, as there may not be time to do so when a disaster hits. For more information on what to include in your pet disaster kit and how to register for the Pet Friendly Shelter, please visit the Santa Rosa County Emergency Management's Pet Friendly Shelters Web page.
Hurricane Preparedness Websites:
Weather Information and Hurricane Tracking Websites:
Planning for Your Pet Websites:
Pet Friendly Shelter Use Agreement (PDF-43KB)
Sheltering Information Websites:
Community Disaster Preparedness Websites:
Business Disaster Planning Websites:
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