Depending on the event, local agencies may set up shelters to serve residents and visitors. Because this will depend on the severity, location and duration of the disaster, the decision to open a shelter or shelters will be made on a case-by-case basis. For that reason, it’s important to listen to local radio broadcasts for the latest information on shelters.
Even though mass care shelters often provide water, food, medicine, and basic sanitary facilities, you should plan to take your disaster supplies kit with you so you will have the supplies you require. Mass care sheltering can involve living with many people in a confined space, which can be difficult and unpleasant. To avoid conflicts in this stressful situation, it is important to cooperate with shelter managers and others assisting them. Keep in mind that alcoholic beverages and weapons are forbidden in emergency shelters and smoking is restricted.
The length of time you are required to shelter may be short, such as during a tornado warning, or long, such as during a winter storm. It is important that you stay in shelter until local authorities say it is safe to leave. Additionally, you should take turns listening to radio broadcasts and maintain a 24-hour safety watch.
More tips for sheltering from FEMA is available here.
Review the CDC’s guidelines for Going to a Public Disaster Shelter During the COVID-19 Pandemic.