Hurricane season is upon us and health department officials are encouraging those who meet certain criteria to apply to the Functional and Medical Needs Registry. Residents should plan ahead and apply to be on the Registry before a storm is threatening our area.
The Chatham County Health Department maintains the Registry which is made up of residents who may require transport and medical assistance during a hurricane evacuation and have no other resources such as family, friends, neighbors, or church members to help them if they need to evacuate. Residents must apply to be on the registry.
Those on the Registry will be evacuated to an American Red Cross shelter in an inland county that will likely be in a gymnasium or similar setting and could be several hours away. The Registry is truly a last resort, but if a hurricane is threatening our area, it is important that Health Department officials know where the most vulnerable residents are located so that evacuation assistance can be provided to them. It is important to note that people living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and personal care homes are not eligible for the Functional and Medical Needs Registry and must follow their facility’s emergency plan.
Functional needs registrants/clients are defined as those individuals who may need services to maintain their independence in a shelter. This includes children and adults with physical, sensory, mental health, and cognitive and/or intellectual disabilities affecting their ability to function independently without assistance.
Medical needs registrants/ clients are defined as those individuals who require support of trained medical professionals. This includes those individuals who may need assistance with managing unstable, terminal, or contagious conditions that require observation and ongoing treatment.
To apply, residents should call the Chatham County Health Department at 353-3255. The application and protected health information authorization form can also be downloaded by going to www.gachd.org/chatham and clicking on the Functional and Medical Needs Registration Information link on the right-hand side of the page.