Evacuation Shelter Preparedness
Planning Before Disaster Strikes
Staying in an evacuation shelter is not something anyone wants to do, but in an emergency it may
be necessary. Learn what to bring with you and how to cope in a crisis.
No one likes to think about having to evacuate during a natural disaster, but knowing what to
expect is important. If you are unable to evacuate the area, you may need to take refuge in a local
shelter. Check with your local emergency management center for a list of shelters near you and
begin making your evacuation plan now, before the emergency strikes.
Most shelters don’t allow pets for health and safety reasons, so you’ll need to plan in advance for
your pet’s needs. Consider boarding your pet with a kennel, or see if a friend can take care of your
pet. Don’t leave your pet to fend for itself.
Shelters are cramped, crowded, noisy, and stuffy. People handle stressful situations differently,
and some will appear to be nervous or agitated. Tempers may flare. There will be long lines to
restrooms and not much privacy. Don’t expect showers or hot meals. Luxury goes out the window
during an emergency.
Listen to the emergency personnel. They will have important news and instructions during the
emergency that you need to know about. Be prepared to act quickly should they need to move
everyone to a new location. Don’t leave the shelter until told it is safe to do so.
Emergency Supplies to Take to a Shelter
In the case of an evacuation, families should prepare to take care of themselves without outside help for several days. The average amount of time for an evacuation is three days.
Check your Grab and Go Kit for to be sure these basic items are included for each person.
A change of clothes, rain gear, and good walking shoes, extra socks and underwear.
A sleeping bag (or two blankets), extra blanket, and small pillow per person. Most shelters
will be located in schools and other public buildings. While they will have a limited amount
of supplies, you and your family will be much more comfortable if you bring your own
Prescriptionand over-the-counter medicines. A first-aid kit, including adhesive bandages.
Cash, checkbooks, and credit cards (during a power outage, cash may be your only option)
Flashlight and spare batteries
Toiletries such as toothpaste/toothbrush, contact lenssolution, toilet paper (they may run out) and hand sanitizer and feminine supplies.
Important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance papers,
titles and deeds, bank certificates, etc. (store them in a plastic envelope or binder to help protect
Important phone numbers for contacting family, insurance companies, and banks