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 basic protection from the storm and the necessary 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
This is your first, best choice and where you will be most comfortable.
Option Two – Stay in a General Population Shelter
General Population 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. Provisions at the shelter will be very limited. Cots and bottled water are not provided. Bring identification and comfort items such as bedding (air mattress, blankets and pillows), folding chair, special dietary foods (if needed), snacks, bottled water, medications, etc. Use the Emergency Checklist to help you in preparing items to take to the 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, pet-friendly shelters are available for residents owning pets, not considered a service animal and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. A pet-friendly shelter is not a General Population shelter and staying with family, friends or at a pet-friendly hotel outside an evacuation zone should be your first and best option. Pets accepted include: Dogs, Cats, domestic Birds, Rabbits, Gerbils, Guinea Pigs, Mice and Hamsters. All pets must be in a carrier/crate and all dogs must have a collar with leash. Evacuees must show proof of rabies certificate for dogs and cats. Residents should also be prepared to show their pet’s Broward County Registration Tag. Evacuees should bring necessary care supplies for a week such as, supply of food and water, food/water bowls, cat litter and litter box, medicine, cleaning supplies, etc.
Option Three – Stay in a Special Needs Shelter
If you are dependent on electricity for your medical needs, or have a medical condition that cannot be supported at a General Population shelter, we recommend you pre-register for the Broward County Special Needs Emergency Sheltering and Transportation Program.
Shelter applications are available at Broward.org/AtRisk, or contact the Broward County Emergency Management Division at 954-831-3902, TTY 954-831-3940 to request that an application be mailed to you. The medical information your physician provides on the application will be reviewed by the nursing team at the Florida Department of Health in Broward County, and you will receive notification of your assignment.
If you need transportation to your assigned location, you are encouraged to make arrangements in advance as part of the Special Needs shelter application process. Transportation is coordinated by Broward County Paratransit or the Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services, depending on your level of need.
Emergency shelters are a service of the Broward County Commission and the Broward County School Board.