Orange County provides hurricane and storm shelters as part of its comprehensive response to help individuals, families and communities respond to and recover from disasters. For registration and information on Special Needs Shelters, please call 311.
Orange County provides general population shelters for Central Floridians who have been evacuated from their homes, for those who live in low-lying areas, and for others seeking shelter from a storm. Shelters are alcohol, drug and weapon free. Individuals should come prepared with supplies. ID cards are not required to enter shelters.
Special Needs Shelters
Orange County strongly encourages residents who require a Special Needs/Medical Shelter during an emergency to please dial 407-836-3111 or 3-1-1. Residents who are deaf or hard of hearing can chat online, download the OCFL 311 app, or register at www.ocfl.net/psn, to ensure access to resources and transportation.
Items To Bring:
Items to bring to the shelter include:
- Water and food (3-day supply)
- Clothing and bedding
- Personal items, toiletries and medications
- First-aid supplies
- Important papers
- Miscellaneous items like games, toys, battery-powered radios and flashlights
- Identification card
- Medical Information card
- Daily prescriptions (2-week supply)
- Non-prescription medicines (2-week supply)
- Mobile phone charger, if needed
- Other special items such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, prosthetic devices, walkers, special dietary foods, etc.
- Medical supplies that you utilize on a daily basis, this includes any portable oxygen, cannula, diabetes testing kit, nebulizer, etc.
- A book, magazine, or something to occupy your time while you wait for the storm to pass
The American Red Cross and/or Salvation Army provides food at the shelters. You are encouraged to bring some food, snacks, and water with you.
In addition, please bring the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of family and friends should you need to contact them or to provide information of your whereabouts. Also, leave your porch light on; this will assist the authorities that drive around your neighborhood after the storm to indicate that you have electricity.
Can I bring my family to the Special Needs shelter? Can they stay with me?
Persons seeking sheltering are encouraged to bring a caretaker with them to the Special Needs shelter. Your family will be allowed in the Special Needs shelter with you. Please ensure to bring bedding, food and supplies for them as well.
Can I bring my pets?
Pets are welcomed at all "Pet-Friendly" shelters. It is important to bring shot records, food, and a crate. Pets are not allowed in General Public Shelters unless they are service animals.
Do I need to register if I am a resident of a nursing home, convalescent and retirement home, or adult congregate living facility?
Residents of nursing homes, convalescent and retirement homes, or adult congregate living facilities are responsible for the evacuation of their own patients and must have emergency plans to handle these types of situations.
Why can't I go to a hospital instead of a Special Needs Shelter?
Local hospitals must maintain the capability to provide for the needs of the very sick or those with life-threatening injuries. Unless you have a life-threatening health/medical condition requiring continuous medical attention, you should go to a designated American Red Cross or Special Needs Shelter.
How long should I plan on staying?
You should plan on staying for the duration of the event or until it is safe to leave.
Orange County anticipates opening pet-friendly shelters during an emergency and reminds families to include pets in their hurricane prep plans:
- Ensure pet vaccinations are current.
- Consider microchipping pets if not already done so to ensure you can find pets in the event you are separated.
- Have a copy of your pet’s medical records, which should be included in your “Pet Disaster Kit.”
- Arrange for a safe place to stay that permits pets.
- Research places that are pet friendly. (Note – animals are not allowed in Red Cross Shelters, except for service animals, so you may want to stay with a friend or relative, or motel/hotel that is pet-friendly).
- If possible, PLEASE do not leave pets behind during an evacuation or emergency.
- With pending serious weather, bring all households pets inside.
For pet-friendly shelters, individuals are asked to bring a carrier, copy of medical records to ensure pets are current on vaccines, food, water and any necessary medications and identification for the pet.