Published: Jun 28, 2013 3:42 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 28, 2013 3:49 PM EDT

HURRICANE CENTRAL - When emergency managers issue an evacuation warning it's time to leave. If for some reason, you can't get out of town, shelters will be open and available.

It's important to know where the shelters are located but also understand that depending on the storm's track and predicted surge that comes with it, not all shelters will be open and space is limited.

Also understand that shelters are not hotels. You will have to bring your own supplies. Some suggestions include personal hygiene products and sleeping items like pillows and blankets, snacks, drinks, change of clothes and baby supplies. Make sure you also bring your medications and something to keep the kids busy.

For those of you with special medical needs it's important for you to register to go to a special needs shelter and in some rare cases, register to shelter in a hospital. You must do this as soon as possible before a storm! And you must re-apply each year through your county's emergency management office.

You should take all the items you would normally take with you to a public shelter along with a companion or caregiver.

If you have a pet, think about staying at a pet-friendly hotel. If you can't leave town, there are pet-friendly shelters for dogs and cats in all three counties, but they might not be open for every storm, so have another plan in place.

In Lee and Charlotte counties you do not need to register before a storm threatens for the pet shelters. But you do need to register before a storm in Collier county.

For all pet shelters, you must remain in the shelter with your pets the entire time. You are also required to house your pet in a crate or cage and take care of them, which includes feeding and cleaning up after them. You will also have to show proof of current vaccinations. Sick animals will not be allowed in the shelters.

Lee County shelter information:

Emergency Management   

Special needs   

Pet shelter  

Charlotte shelter information:

Emergency Management  

Special needs 

Pet shelter  

Collier shelter information

Emergency Management

Special needs

Pet shelter registration