What Are Emergency Public Shelters? Public shelters are a refuge for those seeking temporary safety from a disaster or emergency. People going to a public shelter are doing so because they have been ordered to evacuate, caught on the road away from their home, or left their home believing that remaining there was unsafe.
Shelters offer minimal necessities. They are often noisy and crowded. They could be hot, or they could be cold. Usually they are uncomfortable. Restroom facilities are not like those in your home. Food is not gourmet and may not be on a schedule you are accustom.
There is often a shortage of volunteers to help manage shelters. You will not be waited on. You could be requested to volunteer as a shelter worker while staying there.
What shelters Are Not They are not fun-filled community centers with organized activities, entertainment and personalized service. They are not a vacation away from home. Shelters are not intended to make available more than minimal needs; a roof overhead, relative safety, restrooms and some food and water.
When to go to a shelter You should go a shelter because the authorities have ordered an evacuation of the area in which you reside. You should go to a public shelter when traveling and determining that wind, flooding or other conditions are such that continued travel is unsafe. You know your own home best. You should go to a public shelter when you determine that conditions at or around your home are no longer safe. Don't wait and try to leave to late.
Types of Public Shelters
General Population Shelters - Commonly known as public shelters. These are pre-identified, have been inspected by the American Red Cross to meet its standards, and have a minimum of trained shelter management staff. They have restrooms and the ability to prepare or distribute a limited prepared meals. There could be a nurse on duty.
Special Needs Shelters - These shelters are not for the general public. They are for people who are listed on the Polk County Special Needs Registry as having specific medical, physical or mental conditions that make it difficult for them to utilize a public shelter. The Polk County Emergency Management maintains a registry of those who should be accommodated in a Special Needs Shelter. Those persons who arrive at the shelter and have not been registered, or are determined not to require special sheltering by the shelter management will be redirected to a general population public shelter.
Shelter Staff Shelter management and staff are provided by the American Red Cross, Human Services and the Local Health Department.
Food and Water Public shelters open with what food and water is on hand. There is always the possibility that the water system may be interrupted. The original food could be used before additional supplies arrive. Those planning on using a public shelter should be prepared to take food and water with them. Plan on one gallon of water a day per person.
Shelter openings will be announced Polk County Emergency Management will notify the public of which shelters will be used and when they will open. This will include the notification of the news media, the use of this Internet site.
Among those organizations that will be notified are municipal government, public utilities, health care organizations and every department of county government.
The American Red Cross shelter regulations will not permit pets in public shelters. In Polk County, we abide by the ARC regulations. There is an exception, service dogs used by the sight impaired may be permitted. Some churches do permit pets when and if the church opens as a shelter. Arrangements for yourpet should be part of each family’s disaster planning.
Several options are open to you. 1) Make arrangements to leave the pet(s) with a friend or relative who is not evacuating 2) Make arrangements with a veterinarian or kennel to care for your pet.
1.You MUST sign in upon arriving and sign out upon leaving 2. No alcohol or non-prescriptions drugs 3. No smoking is permitted inside of the shelters 4. No guns or weapons 5.No pets 6.No disorderly or disruptive behavior 7.Shelter users must be respectful of the building and grounds being loaned to them as a shelter. Somebody else owns the facility. Your are their guest. 8.Be courteous and respectful others
Shelter Supply List
A 3-day supply of water. Plan on one gallon of water per day per person
Baby formula, diapers and other needs
A 3-day supply of non-perishable food per person
Manual can opener,paper plates, paper towels, plastic cups and plastic ware (knives, forks and spoons)
A 3-day supply of medications
Personal grooming and hygiene items
Specialty items and feminine supplies
Extra pair of eyes glasses
Flash light with batteries
Bedding: Pillow w/case, sheets, blankets,
Sleeping bag, air mattress
Lawn chair / chaise lounge
Books, magazines, playing cards, board games
Personal identification and important papers/documents
Wheelchair or walker, if needed
Oxygen, if needed
If we can help further, contact us at:
Kathy Poirier, Director 1005 West Main, Ste 900
Balsam Lake, WI 54810
Phone Number: 715-485-9280
Fax Number: 715-485-8315 email@example.com