It is necessary to prepare an evacuation plan before hurricane season arrives, and you should have several options from which to choose. If your first option does not work and you have no other safe place to go, you should go to an Emergency Public Shelter.
Emergency Public Shelter
A shelter is a safe place to be during an emergency. However, it offers only the basic life-sustaining necessities, such as shelter from the weather; water and food; and sanitary services. The shelter will likely not have electricity for the majority of your stay. It will be noisy, crowded and somewhat uncomfortable. In a storm of similar size to those we have experienced here the past few decades, each person will be assigned 20 square feet of space to sleep and keep your things. In the event we are faced with a catastrophic storm, we will be focused on life safety and will bring into the shelter all those seeking refuge from the storm, reducing individual space allowance for a period of time.
Be sure the shelter is open before you go. All listed shelters will not be open for every storm. Local radio and television stations will announce which shelters are open. We cannot predict how long you may have to remain at the shelter, since we cannot predict how damaging the effects of each storm will be. Food will be provided, but you should bring some food items with you for between meals, or in case you do not like what is being served. If you have diet restrictions or require specialty foods, you must bring those.
You must bring your own personal hygiene items, sleeping bags/cots, blankets, towels and comfort items to the shelter. Being considerate of others and having a positive attitude will be helpful to everyone. Listen for official information and do not participate in gossip or rumors, which can be very disruptive. Volunteer to help whenever possible.
Want to volunteer as a shelter worker? Get started by completing the Volunteer Application.
Weapons, smoking and alcoholic beverages are prohibited at all shelters.