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Shelter - Frequently Asked Questions

The Dixie County Office of Emergency Management works with the Dixie County School Board, the North Central Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Dixie County Health Department and many other local agencies and volunteers in making shelters available.

What Public Shelters Are / Are Not:

Public shelters are a refuge for those seeking temporary safety from a disaster or emergency. People going to a public shelter are doing so because they have been ordered to evacuate or left their home believing that remaining there was unsafe.

Shelters offer minimal necessities. They are often noisy and crowded. They could be hot, or they could be cold. Usually, they are uncomfortable. Shelters are not intended to make available more than minimal needs; a roof overhead, relative safety, restrooms and some food and water.

When to go to a shelter

You should go to a shelter because the authorities have ordered an evacuation of the area in which you reside. You should go to a public shelter when traveling and determining that wind, flooding or other conditions are such that continued travel is unsafe. You know your own home best. You should go to a public shelter when you determine that conditions at or around your home are no longer safe. Don't wait and try to leave to late.

There are three types of public shelters

  1. General Population Shelters – These shelters are commonly referred to as a public shelters. These are pre-identified, have been inspected by the American Red Cross to meet its standards, and have a minimum of trained shelter management staff. They have restrooms and the ability to prepare or distribute limited cold meals. There may be a nurse on duty depending on the size of the shelter.
  2. Special Needs Shelters - These shelters are not for the general public. They are for people who are listed on the Dixie County Special Needs registry as having specific medical, physical or mental conditions that make it difficult for them to utilize a public shelter. The Dixie County Office of Emergency Management maintains a registry of those who should be accommodated in a Special Needs Shelter. Those persons who arrive at the shelter and have not been registered or are determined not to require special sheltering by the shelter management will be redirected to a general population public shelter.
  3. Shelter of Last Resort - These shelters have not been inspected and approved as shelters by the American Red Cross. They do not have a pre-assigned and trained shelter management team. Often they will have no kitchen and limited restroom facilities. As the name implies, they are truly a last resort. They are intended to offer shelter from rain and winds and little more. They are expected for use by evacuees in terms of hours, not days. If inclement weather is forecasted, shelters of last resort can be sought in a library, mall, church, or community center. Find the closest facility to your home and know the operating hours.

Shelter Staff

Shelter management and staff are provided by the Dixie County School Board. They are augmented by American Red Cross volunteers, nursing staff from the Dixie County Health Department, and individual volunteers.

Food and Water

Public shelters open with what food and water is on hand. There is always the possibility that the water system may be interrupted. The original food could be used before additional supplies arrive. Those planning on using a public shelter should be prepared to take food and water with them. Plan to have one gallon of water a day per person.

Location of Shelters / Planning

The Dixie County School Board furnishes public shelters. Shelters are strategically located around Dixie County to provide a safe haven in densely populated areas. Persons living in rural areas of the County may have to travel a distance, so plan accordingly.

When will they open?

Public shelters will be opened based on the community need. Not all shelters are opened simultaneously.

There are few times when all shelters will be opened. For instance, if a coastal evacuation were ordered, many, if not all, Dixie County public shelters may be opened to accommodate the arriving evacuees from other counties.

How will I know what shelter is opened?

The Dixie County Office of Emergency Management will notify the public of which shelters will be used and when they will open. This will include the notification of the news media, the Web site.

Shelter Rules

  1. You MUST sign in upon arriving and sign out upon leaving
  2. No alcohol or non-prescriptions drugs
  3. No smoking is permitted inside of the shelters
  4. No guns or weapons
  5. No disorderly or disruptive behavior
  6. Shelter users must be respectful of the building and grounds
  7. Be courteous and respectful to others

Shelter Supply List

  • A 3-day supply of water. Plan on one gallon of water per day per person
  • Baby formula, diapers and other needs
  • A 3-day supply of non-perishable food per person
  • Manual can opener, paper plates, paper towels, plastic cups and plastic ware (knives, forks and spoons)
  • A 3-day supply of medications
  • Personal grooming and hygiene items
  • Specialty items and feminine supplies
  • Extra pair of eyes glasses
  • Flash light with batteries
  • Bedding: Pillow w/case, sheets, blankets
  • Sleeping bag, air mattress
  • Lawn chair / chaise lounge
  • Books, magazines, playing cards, board games
  • Extra clothing
  • Personal identification and important papers/documents
  • Wheelchair or walker, if needed
  • Oxygen, if needed

Alert Warning

For the latest information on COVID-19 (Corona Virus) please go to: Florida Dept of Health Dixie County Dept of Health

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