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Shelter openings in Escambia County vary with each emergency. Openings will be announced through all means possible, including local media outlets, press conferences and public meetings. Do not go to a shelter until you have verified that it is open. 

For a complete list of shelters available during a specific disaster, visit For a list of possible shelters, visit our shelter listing page

Click here for Special Needs Shelter information.

Shelter Conduct

  • Smoking is not permitted inside the shelter. A designated smoking area will be identified outdoors, weather permitting.
  • Individuals who do not follow the shelter rules will be removed.
  • Escambia County and its partner agencies will not be responsible for any lost personal belongings or equipment. Personal belongings or equipment brought to the shelter should be marked with your name.
  • Do not bring weapons of any sort (knives, guns, etc). Alcohol is not permitted at the shelter. Weapons and alcohol will be confiscated by shelter staff and either turned over to law enforcement or disposed of.

Shelters are a Last Resort

Buildings used for evacuation shelters are normally public schools that are staffed by specially trained American Red Cross volunteers and staff. Shelters are generally crowded, usually uncomfortable (especially when the power goes off, since there is no ventilation), have long lines to use restrooms and get food, and are very noisy, making it difficult to rest or sleep. Keep in mind you may have to stay in the shelter for several days. 

Arranging Transportation to a Public Shelter

Should someone need round-trip transportation assistance to a special needs, general public or pet friendly hurricane shelter, these services are available through ECAT when evacuations are ordered and hurricane shelters opened. ECAT does not provide a pre-registration service. When you are ready for pick up you can call ECAT at (850) 595-3228 to get on their route schedule. Please communicate any ADA, medical or special transportation needs when you call ECAT.

 Things to Take to a Shelter
If you go to a public shelter, you will need to take the following items to support you and your family for four days:

A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes
Toiletries and personal items
Blankets or sleeping bags and pillows
Identification and any important papers
Games, toys or books for children
Books for adults
Special items for infants or elderly family members
Any special dietary needs & non-perishable foods for snacks
Battery-operated radio, flashlights and plenty of spare batteries
Prescription medications or any over-the-counter medications you normally take
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The mission of Escambia County government is to provide efficient, responsive services that enhance our quality of life, meet common needs and promote a safe and healthy community.

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