Jacksonville, FL (August 26, 2016) – This year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts the strongest Atlantic hurricane season since 2012 with up to 17 possible storms. Now is the time to plan for a hurricane in Northeast Florida, especially for those living with a disability, according to Tyler Morris, Executive Director of The Independent Living Resource Center of Northeast Florida (ILRC).
The Independent Living Resource Center of Northeast Florida (ILRC) can assist those living with a disability to complete the necessary paperwork that alerts authorities to special evacuation needs, communications and assistance.
“Ever since Hurricane Katrina and its devastating effect in New Orleans we have been hyper vigilant about alerting the ILRC community after the need to be prepared,” said Tyler Morris, Executive Director of the ILRC.
The first step for those living with a disability who may need special services at a hurricane shelter is to contact the City of Jacksonville’s Disabled Services division and register. A link to their website is http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/disabled-services/resources/emergency-preparedness-for-special-needs.aspx. Registration must be done annually.
“There are several steps to remember,” added Beth Meyer, Director of Development. “Not every shelter will be open when there is an emergency. People should watch television for updates on the emergency and/or check the City’s website to see which shelters are open.”
The ILRC also reminds everyone to make sure that their medication is filled in advance and Special Needs registration forms are completed. Service pets can be brought to a shelter. Pets that are not service animals can be brought to pet-friendly shelters but owners are responsible for their pet’s needs including food.
Deaf interpreters are provided when requested at the special needs shelters as needed by the City of Jacksonville. If you have any communication questions or concerns please call the ILRC’s ADA Coordinator at 904-399-8484.
For more information about the services of the ILRC of Northeast Florida, visit theilrc.org. There are over 400 Centers for Independent Living that operate nationwide and 16 in the state of Florida. Their mission is to empower people with disabilities to live independently. In Northeast Florida, the Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC) assists consumers who have disabilities with skill development in areas such as money management, goal setting, accessing community transportation, utilization of medical equipment and employment readiness.