Be aware of where you live and whether it is likely you will need to evacuate. If you live on a barrier island, near the coast, in a flood zone or in a mobile home within the warning area, there's a good possibility you'll need to leave. If so, figure out well in advance where you will go - either to the home of a friend or relative, a hotel farther inland or, as a last resort, to a shelter. Use the Hillsborough County Hurricane Evacuation Assessment Tool to determine what evacuation zone you are located in. The Hillsborough County Hurricane Guide can also help you determine if you live in an evacuation zone and can help you identify Red Cross shelters closest to you.
In the event of an emergency, the media will be notified as to which shelters will open and what times.
In the event of an emergency, all shelters may not be opened. Shelters are opened based on the severity of an emergency and the number of residents to be impacted. In an emergency, residents must tune to the media to find out which are open and the times they are open.
For more information:
Hillsborough County Shelter information
Special Needs Shelter Information
Residents with special needs, the elderly, and those without transportation require extra attention in order to stay safe during a tropical storm or hurricane. We have programs in place to help these residents prepare and find safe shelter.
A special needs shelter is a temporary emergency facility capable of providing care to residents whose medical condition may require the use of electrical equipment, oxygen, dialysis, or individuals with physical, cognitive, or medical conditions who may require assistance from medical professionals. Although special needs shelters provide more care than a general shelter, they do not provide the level of care found in a medical facility.
If you apply for a special needs shelter, you will be asked about your transportation plans. If you need a ride to a shelter, arrangements will be made with Sunshine Line to pick you up and take you to your assigned shelter.
In order to be admitted to a special needs shelter you will need to complete an evaluation form prior to an emergency and meet certain eligibility requirements. Once you have completed the evaluation form, you will be contacted for more information and your medical needs and eligibility will be assessed. If you are eligible to be admitted to a special needs shelter you will be assigned to one of three shelters. If you do not qualify for a special needs shelter, other options will be discussed with you.
To register for a special needs shelter and/or transportation, select one of the following options:
Call the Hillsborough County Health Department at 813-307-8063
Call your home health care provider
Complete an evaluation form and mail or fax to:
Hillsborough County Health Department
P.O. Box 5135
Tampa, FL 33675-5135
Public shelters do not accept pets, so if you are planning to evacuate during a storm, you must plan in advance where your pets will go. Do not leave pets home alone. It could be days or weeks before you return and your pets could starve to death, or flooding could cause needless drowning deaths.
There are pet friendly hotels and motels where the entire family can stay, and pet shelters are located throughout the county. Put your pet into a carrier as soon as possible when you are preparing to leave, as this will reduce stress and keep them from getting lost.