Hurricane season is upon us and experts are predicting that 2018 will be an active season. Coastal Georgia has been impacted by two major storms over the past two years and while we hope this year will be a quiet one along our coast, we have to be prepared – especially when it comes to vulnerable populations. That’s why health department officials encourage residents in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties who qualify to apply to the Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs. Residents should plan ahead and apply to be on the Registry BEFORE a storm is threatening our area.
How the Hurricane Registry Works
The Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs is a list maintained by the health department of residents who may need transportation or medical assistance and have no resources such as family members, neighbors, or friends to help them evacuate if a hurricane is threatening. Residents must apply to be on the Registry. Residents who meet criteria and get on the Registry will be evacuated when there is serious threat of a hurricane.
Those with functional or access needs – including children or adults with physical, sensory, or intellectual disabilities who need assistance with the activities of daily living including eating, taking medication, dressing, bathing, communicating, transferring from bed to chair and chair to bed, and toileting – will be evacuated to a gymnasium type setting far enough inland so that they are safe from the storm. The accommodations at the shelter will be basic (a cot with 20-40 square feet of space, bathroom facilities, meals, etc.) and the shelter may be several hours away.
Those with medical needs – including those who need the help of trained medical professionals for things like IV medication or who may be dependent on a respirator or other medical equipment – may be taken to a healthcare facility which will likely be located several hours inland. There may be a cost associated with care or transportation if someone is placed in a healthcare facility.
Please note that anyone who lives in a nursing home, assisted living, or personal care facility is not eligible for the registry and must follow their facility’s emergency plan.
The Registry is truly a last resort but it is important that local emergency management agency and public health department officials have a list of residents who have certain needs and absolutely no other way to evacuate should that become necessary.
The time to apply for the Registry is when there are no storms threatening. It is important to note that Registry applications will stop being accepted 72 hours prior to the arrival of tropical storm force winds.
How to Apply
To apply, residents can call toll-free, 1-833-CHD-REGISTER (1-833-243-7344) and follow the phone prompts. The application can also be downloaded below. Once completed, the application should be dropped off, faxed or mailed to the county health department.
Coastal Health District Health Department Addresses
Evacuation Kit Items for Hurricane Registry Clients
Download a list of items that Hurricane Registry clients should bring with them in the event of an evacuation:
Hurricane Registry Evacuation Kit (Word document):
Hurricane Registry Evacuation Kit (PDF)