June 2015                                                                                                                                                                                     

Dear Winnebago County Resident,

The Winnebago County Health Department is responsible for ensuring that all community residents including those with functional needs are prepared in the event of an emergency/disaster. We need to be prepared to assist you in the event of an evacuation emergency. 

The Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) Committee in Winnebago County is collecting information to assist in identifying those residents of our community that will need assistance in evacuation efforts. Your information is critical in helping us to prepare. The information that you provide is voluntary and will be kept confidential. It will only be used in an emergency/disaster to help local emergency responders assist you. 

Please complete the attached form to assist the Winnebago County Health Department in our planning efforts.  If you have any questions, would like to provide this information over the telephone, or need assistance, please contact me at 815-720-4217, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thank you,

Theresa James
Emergency Response Coordinator
Winnebago County Health Department


Functional Needs Support Services Voluntary Registration Letter pdf

Functional Needs Support Services Voluntary Registration Form pdf


Functional Needs Support Services Plan Informational Sheet

The Functional Needs Support Service Plan (originally Special Needs Assessment Plan, SNAP) has been completely rewritten to include all functional needs individuals throughout Winnebago County for residents that reside in their own homes.  Disasters can be stressful and often worrisome for those that may have special medical issues that cannot be accommodated for in a regular shelter. 

These needs include but are not limited to the following:

  • Individuals who may need assistance for evacuations; children and adults with special needs
  • individuals on oxygen, or medications for chronic illnesses (such as diabetes, heart conditions, stroke or other life supporting perscriptions
  • Autistic children, adults with dimentia or alzheimer's
  • Individuals who may be bedridden or need wound care

Many of the above residents speak languages other than English so the language line, Braille, sign language and other forms of communications have been addressed.

These individuals cannot be placed in a "typical" type of shelter, so Winnebago County is working closely with the American Red Cross to establish two sites certified to provide these types of services for these residents.

In the plan, there is a form for residents to fill out to become part of a data base that will identify them within segments of the county.  If there is a need to evacuate a segment of the county, the Emergency Operations Director is able to utilize Winnebago County Health Department and to ask how many functional needs residents are in a certain sub-section of Winnebago County and what resources are in place to accommodate them.

Winnebago County Health Department is working closely with Rockford Housing Authority, Northwestern Illinois Area Agency on Aging, church organizations, medical supply companies, ambulance services just to mention a few, and will be providing Public Service Announcements to get this message out.