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Emergency Preparedness

Florida Department of Health in Walton County

 The Public Health Preparedness (PHP) Program coordinates planning and program development for the Florida Department of Health in Walton County and other local and state agencies to protect the public health of Florida’s citizens and visitors from the effects of manmade and naturally-occurring events.  The goals of the program are to upgrade preparedness for and response to bioterrorism, outbreaks of infectious disease, and other public health threats and emergencies.

 Project Public Health Ready – (The Florida Department of Health in Walton County (formerly the Walton County Health Department) was recognized in 2010 by the National Association of County and City Health Officials' (NACCHO) for being Project Public Health Ready (PPHR). Project Ready is a collaborative public health preparedness initiative between the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

PPHR was developed by and for local health departments to enhance the ability of a county health department to protect the public's health before, during, and after an emergency or disaster.  DOH-Walton intends to submit an application for re-recognition in 2015. 

Project Ready sets national criteria for public health readiness under three main goals:

  •  All-Hazards Preparedness Planning
  •  Workforce Capacity Development
  •  Quality Improvement through Exercises and Real Event Response

The health department disaster preparedness and planning program is a three county program to develop plans and activities that increase Walton, Holmes, and Washington County's ability to prepare, respond and mitigate man-made or natural disasters. This program collaborates with local Emergency management staff and the Regional DOH staff to meet planning, training and exercise needs of health care workers in both the public and private sectors.

Prepare Yourself - For more information on how to prepare yourself and your family for any disaster. 

Special Needs Shelter-SpNS  - The Florida Department of Health in Walton County will provide limited support for residents with special medical needs at the Special Needs Shelter (SpNS) located at the Freeport High School when it is activated by Walton County Emergency Management. 

  • The Walton County SpNS is only an option of last resort, and only for special medical needs individuals and their caretakers.  It is not a preferred destination, but a refuge of last resort.  Plan ahead now and make local arrangements with family, friends, or church members to arrange a safe place should you need to leave your home.
  • Is the Special Needs Shelter for you?  The SpNS is a low acuity facility only.  There will be no doctor, no acute care nurses, and no specialty care nurses at the shelter.  You MUST be accompanied by a caretaker or family members to provide the care you need throughout your entire stay in the shelter.  There is very little privacy and limited space.  No pets will be admitted to the shelter unless they are registered service animals. 
  • What should you bring? 
    • Bring all of your medicine in labeled prescription bottles, a list of your medical conditions, and contact names and numbers for doctors, home health agency you use and an emergency contact.  Citizens with a File of Life document established should bring that document, too.  Bring enough supplies to last for 72 hours (day days), in case the American Red Cross is unable to obtain food or supplies for shelter occupants.  Bring three (3) days’ work of nonperishable foods, water to drink, clothing, personal hygiene items, and bedding.
    • The shelter will have a generator, but in case it fails, any occupants who require oxygen should bring with them their backup tank.
    • Other recommended items to bring include:  flashlight, batteries, books to read or other activities to stay occupied for an extended period of time, any personal comfort items, sweater or jacket, or portable radio. 
    • How to apply. If you have no other options, and have simple medical problems requiring medicine or monitoring at certain times, you may qualify.  For more information about utilizing the Special Needs Shelter and to register, contact the Walton County Division of Emergency Management at (850) 892-8065. 

Medical Reserve Corps Learn more about the Okaloosa-Walton Medical Reserve Corps and about joining the volunteer agency.  What is the OWMRC?  The Okaloosa-Walton Medical Reserve Corps (OWMRC) is an organization of medical and non-medical volunteers who contribute their skills and expertise during community emergencies, and when available, during skills-building activities throughout the year.  The OWMRC is hosted by the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County, but serves both Okaloosa and Walton Counties.

For more information:

Florida Department of Health Emergency Preparedness & Response -

Get a Plan!