Preparing to Go to a Shelter

A shelter is a place to go in the event of an evacuation, but it can be noisy, crowded and have few personal comforts. Shelters should be your last resort if you have nowhere else to go. A shelter is a stressful environment for everyone; please treat your fellow evacuees with courtesy and kindness.

Residents going to a shelter need to take their own supplies, some of which may be found in your disaster supply kit:

  • Bring your own pillows, sheets, blankets, portable cot or air mattress, chaise lounge, folding chairs or sleeping bags.
  • Cots or beds are not provided
  • If you are on a special diet, bring a supply of nonperishable food that will be sufficient for 3 days per person.
  • All required medications and medical support equipment:
  • Wheelchair/walker, oxygen, dressings, feeding and suction equipment, diapers, etc.
  • Any specific medications or care instructions ( 2-week supply)
  • Personal hygiene items, like toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, towels, brush/comb, dentures, glasses, eye drops, diapers, etc.
  • Entertainment items, like games, cards, books, magazines, etc.

Persons with Disabilities, Barriers or Impairments

By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan, you can be better prepared for any situation.

  • Inventory what you every day to live independently. Identify the essential items you will need for at least three days.
  • Stock custom essentials in your kit like: durable medical equipment, assistive technology, etc.
  • Have a method to communicate your impairments and needs.

Remember, being ready is the key to maintaining your independence.

Shelter Options

There are three types of evacuation shelters available to the public: Primary Evacuation Shelters, Special Needs Shelters, and Pet-Friendly Shelters.

Shelter openings are incident-specific

Never go to a shelter unless local officials have announced it is open. Shelter opening will be announced through local television, radio stations, social media, and the Brevard County Emergency Management Website.

Shelters are designed to house residents of the barrier islands (including Merritt Island), those in low-lying or flood-prone areas, those in mobile/manufactured homes, or those with no other sheltering options.

If you choose to go to a shelter, follow these instructions:

  • Stay as calm as possible, and take your disaster supply kit.
  • Bring your own cots or sleeping materials.
  • Bring changes of clothing, and wear sturdy shoes.
  • If you have dietary restrictions, bring food that you will be able to eat.
  • Bring what you need to stay comfortable and entertained.
  • Not all shelters will have electricity throughout the emergency.

Shelter Rules – If staying in a shelter, be aware of the shelter rules:

  • We are guests. Please treat the facility, equipment, and staff respectfully.
  • No disorderly or disruptive behavior will be allowed.
  • No smoking, alcohol, or drugs allowed.    
  • No guns or weapons of any kind permitted.
  • You must sign in when you arrive and sign out when you leave

Shelters are intended to keep you safe, not necessarily comfortable. Remember, a shelter is a life boat, not a cruise ship.