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Sheltering FAQ

What are evacuation shelters?

Evacuation shelters are provided for public use in the event an evacuation becomes necessary and if you have no other place to go. It is recommended that other arrangements be made with a friend or relative that lives in a well-constructed home, out of the evacuation area, and properly protected to withstand hurricane force winds. You will be more comfortable in a less crowded environment and among friends. Shelters are generally crowded, usually uncomfortable (especially when the power goes off, since there is no ventilation), have long lines to use restrooms and get food, and are very noisy, making it difficult to rest or sleep. Keep in mind you may have to stay in the shelter for several days. 

How will I know if a shelter is open? 

Shelter openings in Hamilton County vary with each emergency. Openings will be announced through all means possible, including local media outlets, press conferences and public meetings. Do not go to a shelter until you have verified that it is open.   

What do I take to a shelter? 

If you go to a public shelter, you will need to take the following items to support you and your family for four days:

  • A change of clothing
  • Toiletries and personal items
  • ID and any important papers
  • Games, toys or books for children
  • Special items for infants or elderly family members
  • Any special dietary needs & non-perishable foods for snacks
  • Prescription medications or any over- the-counter medications you normally take

What conduct is not allowed in shelters?

Smoking is not permitted inside the shelter. A designated smoking area will be identified outdoors, weather permitting.  Individuals who do not follow the shelter rules will be removed.