It’s a scary time for all of us. If you stay home, you have to worry about your safety, and about whether you’ll have food and water and electricity. If you evacuate, you have to worry whether your home and belongings will be there when you return.
If you have to get to a shelter, you have a whole extra set of worries. You’ve probably never had to stay in any kind of a shelter. You’ve seen them on TV, but never imagined that you’d end up in one yourself. You know they’re not going to be a lot of fun, but you really have no clue what to expect.
Here’s some basic information to give you a clue about what your stay in the shelter will be like.
▪ You should bring your own nonperishable food, at least one gallon of water per person, per day that you expect to be there, all your medications, bedding, towels, toilet paper and clothes.
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▪ Shelters include accessible entryways, service areas and bathrooms for people with special needs. Service animals are permitted at all shelters.
▪ If you have pets, bring their vaccination records, collars with their names and your contact number and their food and water. (Some shelters allow pets, but most do not. See the list below.)
▪ There will be no beds or showers. You’ll probably be sleeping or sitting on the floor unless you bring an inflatable mattress or a mat.
▪ Each person will have about 20 square feet of personal space if the shelter is close to capacity.
▪ There will be air conditioning, as long as there is electricity or the generators are working.
▪ Make sure to bring important documents such as your passport, ID, insurance cards and anything else you don’t want to lose.
▪ You will not be questioned on your immigration status.
▪ There will be a limited number of electric outlets to charge cellphones — again, as there is electricity
▪ You cannot register to go into a shelter and reserve a spot. If you leave the shelter, the shelter might reach its capacity while you’re gone and you won’t get back in.
▪ If members of your family have been separated after the hurricane, the American Red Cross will try to reunite you.
▪ Hot food will probably not be provided until after the storm passes.
▪ Bring something to pass the time. Your devices may run down, so bring a book, a deck of cards or a game your family enjoys that doesn’t take up much space.
Information in this story came from the Miami Herald.
Manatee County shelters
Bayshore Elementary School, 6120 26th St. W., Bradenton.
Braden River Middle School, 6215 River Club Blvd., Bradenton
Braden River High School, 6545 SR 70 E., Bradenton (allows pets)
Buffalo Creek Middle School, 7320 69th St. E., Palmetto
Daughtrey Elementary School, 515 63rd Ave E., Bradenton
Freedom Elementary School, 9515 State Road 64 E., Bradenton
Gullet Elementary School, 12125 44th Ave. E., Bradenton
Carlos Haile Middle School, 9501 State Road 64 E., Bradenton
Kinnan Elementary School. 3415 Tallevast Road, Sarasota
Lee Middle School, 4000 53rd Ave. W., Bradenton
Manatee High School, 902 33rd St. Court. W, Bradenton (allows pets)
McNeal Elementary School, 6325 Lorraine Road.
Mills Elementary School, 7200 69th St. E., Palmetto (allows pets)
Myakka Elementary School, 37205 Manatee Ave., Myakka City
Oneco Elementary School, 5414 22nd St. Court E., Bradenton
Prine Elementary School, 3801 Southern Parkway, Bradenton
G.D. Rodgers Garden Elementary, 515 13th Ave. W., Bradenton
Seabreeze Elementary School, 3601 71st St. W., Bradenton
Tillman Elementary School, 1415 29th St. E., Palmetto
Annie Lucy Williams Elementary School, 3404 Fort Hamer Road, Parrish
Willis Elementary School, 14705 The Masters Ave., Bradenton
Witt Elementary School, 200 Rye Road, Bradenton