Dare County has a significant population with “special needs”, normally defined as “...individuals who would need assistance with medical care or personal care during evacuations and sheltering because of physical or mental impairments”. Special consideration must be given to this population’s needs during an emergency.

If you or someone you know may be appropriate for the registry, please contact Dare County Department of Health & Human Services, Social Services Division at 252.475.5500.

Please click here to download our Special Medical Needs Brochure and Form.  


How does it work?

A registration form will be completed to gather information pertinent to an individual's special medical needs. Forms are available by:

  • Downloading the Special Medical Needs Form here.
  • calling 252.475.5500
  • visiting the Manteo or Frisco Social Services Division Office

The Special Medical Needs (SMN) Registry is updated annually by our staff and registrants do not need to re-register. During the month of May, our social workers will contact Special Medical Needs participants to ensure their information is accurate and up to date. In the event of an upcoming storm, we can individually contact our SMN people in the affected area.

Why prepare?

Due to the isolated geography of Dare County, and potential limitations for responders to reach those in need, it is very important for all our residents to be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days on their own.  It is equally important for all our residents to heed evacuation orders and prepare themselves for leaving their homes quickly if a storm approaches.  Our Special Medical Needs registry is important because some of our residents may need assistance in their emergency preparations and evacuation activities.  We also need to know where our vulnerable residents are located so that we can contact them quickly before and after an emergency.

What do you need to do?

Knowing what to do is your best protection and personal responsibility. Ensure a personal support network and complete a personal assessment. Familiarize yourself with the four preparedness steps.

Step 1: Get Informed

Monitor the local news through television, radio and social media. The Government Channel  (Channel 191 on digital cable and channel 20 on Hatteras Island)  and Dare County website are continuously updated throughout emergency situations.

We have an obligation not only to help people in an emergency but also to take steps to avoid hazardous situations before they occur. If a mandatory evacuation is ordered, it means that the upcoming event poses a threat or hazard to your health and well-being. It is illegal to disregard a mandatory evacuation.

Remember that we do not operate evacuation shelters in Dare County.  If a winter storm or power outage causes a non-evacuation shelter to open that information will be quickly posted on the county website and sent to local media outlets.

Step 2: Make a Plan

Create a personal support network and evaluate your needs. The worksheet on the back of this document will assist you with this process.

A personal support network can help you prepare for a disaster and also assist you after a disaster happens. Do not depend on only one person. Consider including a minimum of three people in your network since some supports may not always be available.

Completing a needs evaluation helps with deciding what you will be able to do for yourself and what assistance you may need before, during and after a disaster. This will be based on the environment after the disaster, your capabilities and your limitations.

Step 3: Assemble a Disaster Supply Kit

Food & Water

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day
  • Food—easy-to-make and won’t spoil
  • Manual can opener


  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered, solar, or hand crank radio
  • Cell phones with chargers
  • Extra batteries

Health & Safety Supplies

  • First Aid Kit
  • Medicine (seven day supply), other medical supplies, and paperwork about any serious or ongoing medical condition
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Soap, toothbrush, and other personal care items

Additional Items

  • Family & emergency contact information
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Copies of important documents (insurance cards, immunization records, etc)
  • Extra cash
  • Maps of the area

Step 4: Maintain Your Plan

Quiz: Review your plan and quiz your care support network every six months.

Drill: Conduct emergency fire and evacuation drills.

Restock: Check food supplies and replace expired food and water as needed.

Test: Test your smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year. Alarms should be replaced every 10 years.