With the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season set to begin on Wednesday, June 1, your West Central Florida county health departments serving Citrus, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties are encouraging everyone to prepare for severe weather emergencies now, especially if you have a medical condition and require special assistance to evacuate or shelter.
If you have a special medical need, it is vital that you register with your local emergency management office for special needs evacuation assistance. You can find that information at www.floridadisaster.org/snr/.
All emergency management offices maintain a list of people within the community who have special medical needs so they can be assisted quickly before the arrival of a hurricane. For additional information about how to plan if you need special medical assistance, please visit www.floridadisaster.org/disability.
One of the most important things to include in your survival kit is your prescription medications.
Suppose an emergency is declared and you are running low on your medications. In that case, the Emergency Prescription Refill Bill requires all insurers and managed-care organizations to suspend refill too soon restrictions when a patient seeks a refill in a county:
- Currently under a hurricane warning issued by the National Weather Service; or
- Declared to be under a state of emergency in an executive order by the governor; or
- Has activated its Emergency Operations Center and its emergency management plan.
This law also allows patients outside of those areas to get an emergency 72-hour refill if the pharmacist is unable to readily obtain refill authorization from the doctor. Please talk with your doctor and pharmacist now about how the law can affect your prescriptions.
In addition to having a supply of your medications on hand, keep a list of each one you take, complete with the name of the prescribing doctor, the name of the drug, dosage instructions and the name of the pharmacy where it was filled.
If you have a medical condition such as epilepsy, a heart condition, severe allergies, etc., wear a medical alert bracelet or carry information about your condition.
Provide friends and relatives information about your condition and provide them instructions about handling any medical emergencies that may arise.