All shelters may not be opened at the same time; therefore, attention must be given to the current shelter status in Santa Rosa County.

Emergency Management in conjunction with the American Red Cross oversees emergency sheltering for impacted and displaced residents during times of emergency.

Shelter Openings

In Santa Rosa County, hurricane shelters will be opened as needed when evacuation orders are issued. Shelter openings will be announced through all means possible including local media outlets, press conferences and public meetings.

  • Shelter Locations
  • Shelter openings may vary with each emergency.
  • If unable to receive media information during an event contact the Citizen Information Center at 850-983-INFO "4636" for a listing of which shelters will be opened.
  • Shelter openings will differ by size and intensity of a disaster.
  • Do not go to the shelter until you have verified that it is open.

Other Arrangements

Hurricane evacuation shelters are provided for public use in the event a hurricane 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 probably be more comfortable, certainly in a less crowded environment and among friends. Remember, alcohol, weapons and pets are not permitted in public shelters.

Many churches will provide shelter for members and businesses should consider sheltering employees and families if possible.

Take These Items

If you go to a public evacuation shelter, you will need to take the following items:

  • A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes
  • Toiletries and personal items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Identification and any important papers
  • Games or toys for children; books for adults
  • Special items for infants or elderly family members
  • Any special dietary needs and nonperishable foods for snacks
  • Battery operated radio, flashlights and plenty of spare batteries
  • Prescription medications or any over-the-counter medications you normally take

Protect Your Pet Information

Proper planning before a hurricane or other natural disaster could save your life and that of your pet. If you live in an area which must be evacuated, you must make preparations for your family and your pets before the threat of a storm.

Shelters Are a Last Resort

Buildings used for evacuation shelters are normally public schools that are staffed by specially trained American Red Cross volunteers and staff. Shelters are generally crowded, usually uncomfortable (especially when the power goes off because 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.