70ºF

Shelters for medical needs and pet owners

Prepare in advance if you require medical transport or pet shelters

Medically dependent people on electricity need to register for special shelters and not all shelters allow pets.
Medically dependent people on electricity need to register for special shelters and not all shelters allow pets.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Building a hurricane preparedness kit includes survival items but you may need to add personal plans for pets and medical assistance.

In Duval county special medical shelters are available for evacuees who have health conditions that require basic assistance or supervision from a medical professional during a disaster. 

Department of Health in Duval County.runs these designated structures that have critical backup power to operate medical equipment.

Special medical needs shelters are refuges of last resort and should only be considered if you need to evacuate and have no other options. 

If you can safely shelter in place, stay with friends or family, or stay in a hotel, it is recommended that you do so since shelters may be crowded, uncomfortable, and offer minimal privacy.

You must first pre-register EACH YEAR for Special Medical Needs disaster assistance with the City of Jacksonville Emergency Preparedness Division.

If needed, transportation will be provided for those who pre-register well in advance here.

Remember shelter locations change from year to year, do not go to a shelter until shelter locations and opening times have been announced.

A caregiver must accompany any individual requiring more than basic assistance
Shelters may be crowded, uncomfortable, and offer minimal privacy
Amenities are limited to basic nursing assistance, first-aid care, bathroom facilities, food and water
Individuals with special dietary needs should bring their own food
An evacuation kit should be prepared to make your stay more comfortable
Not all shelters accept pets.  Pets are only allowed in specific pet-friendly shelters.  Service animals are permitted at all shelters
Smoking and/or alcohol consumption is NOT permitted at any shelter
Childcare is not provided at any shelter; you are required to supervise your children
Bathe and eat before securing your home and relocating to a shelter

Service dogs are permitted in shelters only if they are trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs do not count even if a person has a note from a doctor. A doctor’s letter does not turn an animal into a service animal.

How to shelter with animals. 

If you need to shelter with a pet, Animal Care and Protective Services facilitates the pet-friendly shelters if they have proof of vaccination and registration.

Other than reptiles many animals will be accepted including: Dogs, Cats, Rodents (such as hamsters, gerbils, etc.) Birds and Rabbits. 

Of course animals must be properly crated or caged and be maintained by their owners.

Be sure to bring the following with your animal:

  • Always have a collar with an ID tag, city license tag and rabies tag on the pet.
  • Proof of current shots and health records in a waterproof container such as a freezer bag.
  • Current photo of pet.
  • Food and water bowls with enough food and water for three days. Remember to keep the food in a watertight container.
  • Pet carrier with bedding
  • Plastic bags to dispose of pet droppings and other waste
  • Leash
  • Medications
  • Toys
  • Manual can opener for canned food
  • First Aid kit
  • Grooming supplies
  • Paper towels/wet wipes
  • Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Cat litter and litter box
     

About the Author: