Special triage telephone lines will be opened at 12:00 p.m. in each region to accept the calls of citizens seeking special needs sheltering. Citizens with special needs seeking shelter must call telephone number in their area BEFORE attempting to access a shelter. These numbers are listed below.
Baton Rouge: 800-349-1372
Lake Charles: 866-280-2711
An additional number has been opened for residents in the New Orleans area. It is being answered by staff from the New Orleans Health Department. This number is 504-658-2500. Residents in the area who anticipate the need for Special Needs Shelter services must call this number.
Special Needs Shelters are not designed for the general public or for nursing home patients. Nursing homes in Louisiana are required to have emergency evacuation plans in place that ensure the health and safety of their residents. In most instances, these plans allow for homes in affected areas to transport their patients to nursing homes in areas safe from the storm.
Health officials note that if individuals have health problems that require medical expertise and must evacuate, it is best for them to go with family members or caretakers north and west to areas that are out of harm’s way.These shelters are staffed by Department of Health and Department of Social Services and will provide medical support services only. Because of limited staffing, those going to a Special Needs Shelter must have a caretaker to assist with ongoing support and they should bring all necessary supplies including sheets, blankets and pillows.