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By DOH-Pinellas

May 20, 2022

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.

Special Needs Shelters

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 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

Know Your Prescriptions

One of the most important things to include in your survival kit is your prescription medications. If an emergency is declared and you are running low on your medications, the Emergency Prescription Refill Bill (Florida Statutes 252.358 and 462.9275) 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.

Alert Others

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 how to handle any medical emergencies which may arise.

For more information about how to prepare your health for hurricane season, please contact your local West Central Florida county health department:

DOH-Citrus - (352) 527-0068DOH-Manatee - (941) 748-0747
DOH-Hardee - (863) 773-4161DOH-Pasco - (727) 619-0300
DOH-Hernando - (352) 540-6800DOH-Pinellas - (727) 824-6900
DOH-Highlands - (863) 386-6040DOH-Polk - (863) 519-7900
DOH-Hillsborough - (813) 307-8000DOH-Sarasota - (941) 861-2900

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit

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