Community Emergency Shelters

A Community Emergency Shelter is a temporary, safe place to stay for individuals and families affected by a disaster. Each community shelter will be able to accommodate the following needs listed below, depending on the incident and the evacuated population.

Types of Facilities
Initial evacuation for short notice events will be to a local fire station or other community site while a shelter location is assessed and the shelter staff is notified. In the event that you are advised to evacuate, emergency personnel will tell you where these shelters are located. Listed below are different types of facilities that emergency officials may direct you to.

Registration Centers
Registration Centers are meeting places where all residents are initially sent. The registration center staff will send you to the appropriate shelter after they have determined your needs and recorded contact information. If you are evacuating to a family member's house or choose not to stay at a shelter, please cooperate to provide contact information.

Community Shelters
Community Shelters are pre-identified, local sites that are inspected to meet the American Red Cross standards, and have a minimum of trained shelter management staff members. Medical staff may be available to provide support with minor medical or health needs. All community shelters are required to have restrooms, as well as the ability to prepare or distribute meals, and may also contain one or more of the following components:
  • Medical Needs Component - Available to members of the population who have specific medical, physical, or mental conditions that make it difficult for them to utilize a general population shelter. This includes residents who are oxygen-dependent, bedridden, have wounds that need professional care, have contagious conditions, or that require life-sustaining equipment to survive.
  • Unattended Children's Center Component - Available for children who have been found unaccompanied by their guardians. Children will be supervised until they can be reunited with their guardians or until they are properly processed through the procedures for Family Services.
  • Companion Animal Component - Available for the evacuation of pets. Pets will be housed, and you will be able to help care for your pet in a controlled environment. In the event of a large evacuation of animals, the animals will be housed at SPCA shelters before the opening of the companion animal shelters. Residents will be encouraged to make every effort with their local vet / kennel or out-of-town relative to pre-plan for a disaster. Please note that most hotels and motels do not allow animals. Be sure to have a place for your pet to go in an emergency, (i.e. humane society, animal shelter, SPCA, etc.).
What to Bring to a Shelter
  • Life sustaining medications
  • Change of clothes
  • Pillow
  • Blanket / sleeping bag
  • Personal hygiene kit
What Not to Bring
  • Weapons
  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Illegal drugs
Agencies sponsoring and operating shelters do not take responsibility for lost or stolen items. Keep valuables in a safe location outside of the shelter setting.

Additional shelter rules will be communicated, posted, and maintained. For more information, visit the Red Cross website.