Never been to a shelter? Here's what you need to know

If you're headed to a shelter, here's what you need to know.

SARASOTA COUNTY  -- Shelters will be opening up in parts of the Tampa Bay area. Sarasota County will decide Friday morning if it’ll order voluntary evacuations and open shelters.

If you’ve never been to a shelter there are some things you’ll need to remember.

Most importantly, bring your own supplies and pack enough for three days. Take your food and water for your pets, too. Remember to bring your medication.

A weather radio along with flashlights and batteries are helpful.

Don’t forget a first aid kit and bug spray and bedding such as an inflatable mattress. The shelters will provide only basic meals.

The shelter is usually a public school. Once you arrive, you will register you and your family and take you to the gymnasium, cafeteria or auditorium.

Sarasota Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane says, “Basically it’s a safe structure other than their home to ride the storm out in. We don’t provide cots, blankets and pillows -- they’ll need to bring all that.”

“We ask them not to go out of the school especially during the storm, listen to instructions of the staff there, ask for assistance and keep an eye on their children,” McCrane said

Emergency officials say shelters will stay open after the storm passes in case evacuees learn their home is damaged and can’t return. If that’s the case, the county will help them find a place to stay.

Here's a list of suggested items to take to a shelter:

Special Needs Shelters
• Photo and medical identification
• Daily prescription/non-prescription medicines for three days
• Health items: medical equipment, oxygen, eye glasses, hearing aids, prostheses, special dietary foods, etc.
• Two changes of clothing
• Blanket/pillow
• Personal hygiene items: toothbrush, deodorant, soap, disposable underwear, etc.
Public Shelters
• Photo identification
• Daily Prescription/non-prescription medicines for three days
• Bedding, blanket, pillow
• Personal hygiene items
• Small cooler with snacks
• Caregivers should accompany their dependents
• No pets; however, registered service animals are allowed
• Documents (Passports, birth certificate, pet documentation, any important documents etc.)


Pet Friendly Shelter
At a pet shelter it is very important that you bring everything you will need and everything your pet will need. Pets must remain kenneled and pet owners must remain with their pet at all times. Plan to bring an additional covering to cover the crate to shield your pet from the business of the shelter.

FOR YOU:
• Photo identification
• Daily prescription/non-prescription medicines for three days
• Bedding, blanket, pillow
• Personal hygiene items
• Small cooler with snacks
• Caregivers should accompany their dependents
• Documents (Passports, birth certificate, pet documentation, any important documents etc.)


FOR YOUR PET:
• Current valid shot/vaccination documentation (including rabies)
• Crate appropriate to size of animal
• Airline crate (Recommended)
• Bowls
• Water
• Pet food
• Leashes, collars, and identification tag
• Medication(s) for pet(s)
• Livestock not permitted
 

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