In the event of an emergency, Hillsborough County has emergency shelters for residents and visitors. Shelters are a last resort, and should be used only if you have no other options for evacuation. We encourage residents to evacuate with friends or family to a safe area.
Shelters are opened on an “as-needed” basis depending on the emergency. To stay informed on shelter locations and opening notifications, sign up for HCFL Alert.
If you must evacuate to a shelter, be advised:
- Shelters are opened on an “as-needed” basis.
- Shelter openings may vary with each emergency.
- Never go to a shelter unless local officials have announced it is open. Check our Stay Safe page for shelter openings.
The County operates 3 types of shelters during an emergency:
- General Population Emergency Shelters
- Pet Friendly Emergency Shelters
- Special Needs Shelters
General Population Emergency Shelters
These shelters are intended to provide immediate protection and save the lives of those in the path of a catastrophic and deadly storm. It’s important to have a plan – shelters are not resorts. If you do need to shelter in a County evacuation shelter keep in mind:
- Evacuation shelters will not have cots, blankets or food for residents.
- Bring water: one gallon per person, per day , Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items, Bedding: pillows and blankets, Medications, medical items and supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.), Sanitation and personal hygiene items, Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- If you have specific comfort needs (i.e. special dietary or snacks), plan to get those items ahead of time.
- Don't bring alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, weapons
Pet Friendly Emergency Shelters
Hillsborough County offers eight (8) pet friendly shelters. To shelter your pet in case of emergency you must bring:
- Proof of current rabies vaccination and license for dogs and cats
- Pet must be on a leash or in a carrier
- A crate large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around. Cats need a crate large enough to contain litter and food/water
- Bring all pet supplies to include: crate, food, water, litter, treats, cleaning supplies, medicines, etc.
- You are responsible for the care of your pet while in the shelter
- Cohabitation of pets and owners is not permitted
If you are unable to meet these requirements, please make other arrangements to shelter your pet. Learn more about pet disaster planning.
Special Needs Shelters
The County provides special needs shelters for residents whose medical condition may require the use of electrical equipment, oxygen, dialysis, or individuals with physical, cognitive, or medical conditions that may require assistance from medical professionals. Although special needs shelters provide more care than a general shelter, they DO NOT provide continuous bedside nursing, only assistance with daily functions and medical monitoring.
If you believe you or someone you know may need a special needs shelter it is highly recommended you pre-register for the Special Needs Shelter Program before hurricane season. Follow these instructions to register for a special needs shelter.