MIAMI (CBS4) – The peak of hurricane season is nearly here. It comes around the second week of September. So are you still unprepared for a storm if you have special needs or pets?

When a storm threatens South Florida, residents need to act.

Miami-Dade Emergency Management Director Curtis Sommerhoff wants South Floridians to take storms seriously.

“It’s been 5 years since Hurricane Wilma and in this county we worry about complacency settling it,” said Sommerhoff.

Sommerhoff knows South Florida is often right in the middle of the paths of big storms. That’s why local emergency operations managers are doubling their warnings to the most vulnerable South Florida residents: If you need extra help before any upcoming storms, register right now.

“Particularly the most vulnerable like senior citizens or anyone with any physical disabilities needs to pre-register before a storm hits so we can let them know the Special Services that may be available for them and that’s why they need to make pre-arrangements with us,” explained Sommerhoff.

Reaching the Emergency Operations Registration Centers around South Florida is simple.

Depending on where you live, Miami-Dade and Broward 311 systems can help any special needs residents apply for help.

Monroe County residents can register at (305) 289-6018.

Pet owners can also use the same numbers to get information about emergency shelters for pets.

To apply for emergency evacuation assistance or access to special-needs’ shelters, you may have to provide your medical history and possibly include a doctors’ recommendation.

Pet owners will also have to provide proof of vaccinations and required registrations before any pets would be eligible for special animal shelters.

Remember, storm shelters may provide a safe location during a bad storm, but you still need to bring food, clothing, sleeping supplies, medications, and any entertainment for children if you plan on evacuating to a shelter the next time South Florida faces a hurricane emergency.


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