What To Expect In a Shelter

shelter.bmpShelters are not hotels. They are typically schools or community centers that provide a large hardened area inside a sturdy building. Shelters may be crowded and uncomfortable, with no privacy and no electricity. Shelter volunteers do their best to make you comfortable, but a shelter is not a very comfortable place. If you are able, staying with friends or relatives is a better choice.

Information about which shelters are open in your area will be available through newspapers, television, and radio. Shelter locations can change quickly, so stay informed.

Special Needs
Sumter County school shelters are run by the Sumter County School Board. People with special medical needs and require assistance during an evacuation need to register with Sumter County Emergency Management Special Needs program, prior to an event. Due to the large population of people with special needs, shelters do not provide hands-on medical care, only medical monitoring. Bring a caregiver with you if needed.

Tips for Staying in Shelters
  • Eat before you arrive, and it is best to bring your own food. Meals may not be available during the first 24 hours.
  • Hundreds of people may be in the shelters, so be prepared to deal with a large cross-section of the community. Only service animals are permitted in public shelters.
  • Bring your identification, valuable papers and medications in their original containers.
  • Bring baby supplies.
  • Bring blankets / sleeping bags, pillows. Bring folding chairs or bedding with you. Those are either not provided or limited in supply.
  • Bring cards / games / books to pass the hours.
  • Bring flashlights and a battery operated radio or TV with extra batteries for all.
  • Stay inside and follow directions that are given for your comfort and safety.
  • You will not be allowed outside until the official "all clear."
  • Do not bring pets, weapons, alcohol or illegal drugs to shelters.