Emergency Shelters


In the event of a disaster, you and your loved ones need a plan. In order to make an informed decision, you need to know your options. So, what are your options...

  • Relocate Out of the Area - You may wish to travel out of harms way. Be sure to bring a road map and make sure that your car is full of fuel. Stay away from major bodies of water. Make arrangements in advance if you can. If you decide to use this option, go early, traffic will be heavy if you leave at the last minute, and you may not make it to your destination.
  • Emergency Public Shelters - View more information on Emergency Public Shelters.
  • Stay Home - Before you choose this option, make sure you know your elevation. If we experience a storm that may put a significant storm surge in your home, you need to look at the other options. Also, people in manufactured and mobile homes cannot use this option. Mobile homes and manufactured homes are not built to withstand the high winds associated with tropical storms and hurricanes.
  • Stay With a Friend or Relative Who has a Safe Place - If this is your plan, make arrangements in advance. You need to make sure that where you are going is safe. It defeats the purpose of evacuating if you go to an unsafe place.

Emergency Public Shelters

Not all public shelters are automatically activated for each emergency. They are opened as needed and are not pre-assigned by geographic area. During an emergency, please monitor Polk County Government Television, other local television and radio stations for open shelter information. Have your 72-Hour survival kit ready to take with you. Weapons and alcoholic beverages are not allowed at any public shelter.

List of Emergency Public Shelters

Special Needs Shelter

A Special Needs Shelter is an emergency facility capable of providing special medical or nursing care which does not necessitate an acute care hospital setting. Eligible persons desiring special needs sheltering should pre-register with the Emergency Management Bureau. Registration information is available at the bottom of this page.

A special needs shelter is a temporary emergency facility capable of providing care to residents whose medical condition may require the use of:

  • Dialysis
  • Electrical Equipment
  • Individuals with physical, cognitive, or medical conditions who may require assistance from medical professionals
  • Oxygen

Although special needs shelters provide more care than a general shelter, they do not provide the level of care found in a medical facility. View the Special Needs Program page for more information.

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