Important information about emergency shelters used during evacuations
If you must evacuate to a shelter, be advised:
- Shelters are opened on an “as-needed” basis
- Shelter openings may vary with each emergency
- Never go to a shelter unless local officials have announced it is open
The County operates 3 types of shelters during an emergency:
- General Population Emergency Shelters
- Pet-friendly Emergency Shelters
- Special Needs Shelters
General population emergency shelters
These shelters are intended to provide immediate protection and save the lives of those in the path of a catastrophic and deadly storm. It’s important to have a plan – shelters are not resorts. If you do need to shelter in a County evacuation shelter keep in mind:
- Evacuation shelters will not have cots or blankets for residents.
- If you have specific comfort needs (i.e. special dietary or snacks), plan to get those items ahead of time.
- Don't bring alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, weapons
Pet-friendly emergency shelters
We offer pet-friendly shelters during an evacuation emergency. When the shelter list is put out it will note which shelters are designated as pet-friendly.
To shelter your pet in case of emergency you must bring:
- Proof of current rabies vaccination and license for dogs and cats
- Pet must be on a leash or in a carrier
- A crate large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around. Cats need a crate large enough to contain litter and food/water
- Bring all pet supplies to include: crate, food, water, litter, treats, cleaning supplies, medicines, etc.
- You are responsible for the care of your pet while in the shelter
- Cohabitation of pets and owners is not permitted
If you are unable to meet these requirements, please make other arrangements to shelter your pet. Visit our Pet Disaster Planning page to learn more.
Special needs shelters
The County provides special needs shelters for residents whose medical condition may require the use of electrical equipment, oxygen, dialysis, or individuals with physical, cognitive, or medical conditions that may require assistance from medical professionals. Although special needs shelters provide more care than a general shelter, they DO NOT provide continuous bedside nursing, only assistance with daily functions and medical monitoring.
If you believe you or someone you know may need a special needs shelter it is highly recommended you pre-register for the Special Needs Shelter Program before hurricane season. Follow these instructions to Register for Special Needs Disaster Assistance.