I have a medical condition/disability. Does this affect my eligibility for a shelter?

No. All Broward County shelters are ADA-accessible, and in accordance with ADA, all shelters, including the General Population shelters, make reasonable modifications to accommodate persons with disabilities. Shelter Information

How do I know if I’m eligible for a shelter?

Shelters are open to all residents and visitors. There are several sheltering options.

What are my options regarding shelter in an emergency?

If you must evacuate 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. If you have a disability or are in a wheelchair but without a severe medical condition, you will likely be able to shelter comfortably in one of the American Red Cross General Population shelters, which provide a basic level of care, but are not staffed by medical personnel.

If your medical condition is such that you require a greater level of care than that provided at the Red Cross shelters, but you do not require hospitalization, a Special Needs Shelter may be appropriate for you. Special Needs shelters offer basic medical assistance and monitoring. These shelters are staffed by qualified medical personnel and have back-up electricity for limited lighting and essential medical equipment. Family members and caregivers are welcome. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required. Finally, 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. Shelter Information

Does it cost anything to stay in a shelter?

There is no charge to stay in a shelter.

I have elderly parents who generally manage on their own but become vulnerable in an emergency situation, such a prolonged power outage or phone service interruption. What can I do to ensure their safety?

Elderly residents should take extra steps to ensure their safety and well-being during and after a storm or other emergency. This may require the assistance of a family member or caregiver. Visit broward.org/Hurricane for general tips, and broward.org/AtRisk for specific tips on helping prepare the elderly. Be sure to register the individual with Broward County's Vulnerable Population Registry. This registry allows people who are disabled, frail or have health issues to register in advance with their city so that emergency workers may plan a better response to vulnerable residents in a recovery effort. Each city may use the Vulnerable Population Registry list in a different way, based on their city's recovery effort. Registering into the database should not be considered as a guarantee that you will be provided services or be placed on a priority list for emergency responders. For more information or to register, call 954-831-4000.

What do I do with my pet during an emergency?

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. If you have a service animal and evacuate to a shelter, make sure the animal has a collar with identification. Carry proof that the animal's vaccinations are up to date, and a copy of written instructions for your animal's care. You are responsible for caring for your service animal during your stay in a shelter.

Broward County has one pet-friendly General Population shelter at Millennium Middle School in Tamarac. Pre-registration of pets is required, and owners are expected to shelter with their pets and provide care for them. To register, call the Humane Society at 954-989-3977. Other than the pet-friendly shelter, General Population shelters do not accommodate pets other than service animals.

If you plan to stay in a Special Needs shelter, call the Broward County Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 (TTY 954-357-5608) and they will help you make arrangements for the care of your pet.

If I’m pre-registered for a shelter and/or transportation, am I obligated to use those services in an emergency?

No. Pre-registration is not required for a General Population shelter. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required for Special Needs shelters and shelter transportation. You are not obligated to take advantage of either service if your plans change.

Is transportation available to and from the shelters?

Once an evacuation is ordered and American Red Cross General Population shelters are opened, Broward County Transit (BCT) provides evacuation service from the evacuation zones. In the case of a Category 1 or 2 hurricane (Evacuation Plan A), buses will pick up along A1A. In a Category 3 or higher (Evacuation Plan B), buses will pick up along A1A and Federal Highway. Pick up points include any regular bus stop, or you can flag down a bus anywhere along these routes. All evacuation buses will be marked "Emergency Evacuation" on the head sign. Evacuation service will continue as long as weather permits.

Broward County Transit Paratransit Services section coordinates transportation of persons with disabilities and special needs to and from the shelters. To pre-register, call Broward County Human Services Department at 954-357-6385 (TTY 954-357-5608).

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