Many residents are able to safely shelter at home in the event of a hurricane or other emergency. However, some residents are required to evacuate their homes. This can be especially difficult for residents who are disabled, have special medical needs, or are otherwise vulnerable during an emergency. To the extent possible, shelters provide residents with a safe place to stay and basic assistance to help them get through the emergency. Residents who must evacuate their home have several options to consider:

Option One – Stay With Family or Friends Outside the Evacuation Zone

If you must evacuate your home, either because you live in an evacuation zone, you live in a mobile home (in the event of a weather emergency), or you feel unsafe in your home, your first, best choice is to stay with family or friends in a location outside the evacuation zone. This is where you will be most comfortable.

Option Two – Stay in a General Population Shelter

American Red Cross Mass Care shelters provide a basic level of care and are open to all. No pre-registration is required. If you have a self-managed health condition or disability, you will likely be able to shelter comfortably in a General Population Shelter. When you arrive at the shelter, be sure to tell shelter personnel what your needs are. If you need transfer assistance, sign language interpretation and other auxiliary aids, or a quiet zone for a cognitive disability or mental health need, call 311 or 954-831-4000, TTY 954-831-3940 for the most updated information.

Service animals are permitted in General Population Shelters so long as the pet meets the requirements under Federal law. Visit ADA Requirements for Service Animals for additional information. However, a Pet Friendly Shelter is available for residents owning pets, not considered a service animal, and are living in evacuation areas or mobile homes. Pre-registration is required, and owners are expected to shelter with their pets and care for them. To register, call the Humane Society at 954-989-3977. The Pet Friendly Shelter is not a General Population Shelter.

Option Three – Stay in a Special Needs Shelter

If you have a medical condition that requires a greater level of care than that provided at a General Population Shelter, but you do not require hospitalization, a Special Needs Shelter may be appropriate for you. These shelters offer basic medical assistance and monitoring. They are staffed by qualified medical personnel. Family members and caregivers are encouraged to accompany residents with special medical needs. Pre-registration is encouraged for planning and response purposes, but not required. Call Broward County Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 (TTY 954-357-5608), or visit Special Needs Shelter for additional information.

Option Four – Stay in a Hospital or Other Medical Facility

If your medical condition exceeds the level of care provided at a Special Needs Shelter and/or you require hospitalization or one-on-one care, we recommend you work with your physician or medical provider to arrange the safest shelter option for you, which may include a hospital or other medical facility.

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