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Hurricane Shelters: What To Bring

Empty cots line a room in the Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter in Pasco Co. ahead of Hurricane Michael in Oct. 2018.
Pasco County Media Relations & Communications
Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter in Pasco Co. prepares for evacuees from Hurricane Michael in Oct. 2018.

Hurricane season has started and it helps to be prepared for any storms that may happen. While counties have shelters for severe storms, officials say they are meant as a last resort and should be secondary to evacuation.  

“If we are going to open shelters, generally it’s 48 hours prior to the arrival of tropical storm force winds,” said Hillsborough County Division Director of Emergency Preparedness and Recovery, Marcus Martin.

Martin suggested that if people are going to a shelter, they should bring:

  • A gallon of drinking water for each person per day
  • Identification and medical records
  • Bedding and an inflatable mattress or sleeping bag
  • Personal hygiene products
  • A handheld radio and flashlight with plenty of batteries
  • Any medical supplies and prescriptions that are needed
  • Card/board games to pass the time
  • Nonperishable food items (some counties may provide meals, check with your local emergency management office)

And whether you are heading to a shelter or planning to ride out a storm at home, Martin said the state has changed its suggestions for how many days you should stock up supplies for.
“The recommendation from the state before was 3 days of preparedness for yourself and family,” said Martin. “Because of lessons learned from Hurricanes Irma and Michael, the state is now recommending seven days minimum of preparedness.”

People should not bring:

  • Weapons
  • Alcohol
  • Any non-essential items
  • Pets (unless it is a pet-friendly shelter)

You can see more information about shelter locations, including special needs and pet-friendly ones, by clicking on the links below.

Charlotte: https://www.charlottecountyfl.gov/services/emergencymgmt/Pages/Refuge-Site-Listing.aspx

Citrus: https://www.sherif https://www.sheriffcitrus.org/storm-shelters-citrus-county.phpfcitrus.org/storm-shelters-citrus-county.php

DeSoto: http://desotobocc.com/department/emergency_management/shelters

Hernando: https://www.hernandocounty.us/departments/departments-a-e/emergency-management/shelter-information

Highlands: http://www.hcbcc.net/departments/emergency_operations/hurricane_info.php

Hillsborough: https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/residents/public-safety/emergency-management/emergency-shelters

Manatee: https://www.mymanatee.org/departments/public_safety/emergency_management/emergency_shelters

Pasco: https://www.pascocountyfl.net/365/Emergency-Management

Pinellas: http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/default.htmefault.htm

Polk: https://www.polk-county.net/emergency-management/emergency-shelters

Sarasota: https://www.scgov.net/government/emergency-services/emergency-management/transportation-plan-hurricane-evacuation-centers

Sumter: https://www.sumtercountyfl.gov/1109/Shelters

Jeffrey Smith is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for summer 2019.
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