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Evacuation FAQs

What is a Hurricane Evacuation Center?

At the beginning of each year, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) presents the American Red Cross of Greater Miami & The Keys (ARC) and the Miami-Dade Office of Emergency Management (OEM) with a list of schools that are available for use as hurricane evacuation centers. A structural survey conducted by a structural engineer and an ARC survey to determine evacuee capacity is required for each school that receives the designation of hurricane evacuation center. The ARC 4496 Guidelines set the minimum hurricane shelter selection guidelines county emergency managers must use when surveying and evaluating hurricane evacuation centers. The ARC 4496 addresses such areas as geographic location (i.e. outside of pre-determined evacuation zones), storm surge inundation, rainfall flooding, lay-down hazard exposure, wind and debris exposure, wind design, construction type, building condition, exterior wall construction, window protection, roof construction and emergency power.

In the mid-1990’s, a public shelter design criteria titled "Enhanced Hurricane Protection Area" (EHPA), was designed to ensure that new schools could meet or exceed applicable construction standards. Since the inception of the EHPA criteria, OEM has prioritized schools with EHPA when selecting hurricane evacuation centers. This is based on their increased structural integrity above the ARC 4496 standard.

When is the hurricane evacuation center list released?

A hurricane evacuation center list is released to the public annually on May 1. The list is based on consensus among ARC, OEM and MDCPS, geographic location, capacity, structural integrity, accessibility for people with disabilities and practicable amenities such as restrooms designed for adult use. The primary group of 20 hurricane evacuation centers is sorted into four waves of five schools that are geographically disbursed around the County. The primary hurricane evacuation centers meet all the aforementioned criteria and additionally have a capacity greater than 1000; have a full service kitchen which can store a two to three day supply of food; ample parking and evacuees have access to all shelter areas in the facility during the lockdown period. The determination of how many hurricane evacuation centers to open depends on the evacuation order issued by the County Mayor.

I need to evacuate to a Hurricane Evacuation Center but I don't have transportation. What do I do?

Miami-Dade Transit operates bus service with accessible wheelchair lifts from predesignated Hurricane Evacuation Bus Pick-up Points throughout the evacuation zones and at mobile home parks. Please call 3-1-1 to locate the closest pick-up point to your home. Once the storm has passed, the buses will return to the shelters to transport you back to your neighborhood. 

These Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-Up Sites are identified by a sign that reads "EMERGENCY EVACUATION BUS PICK-UP SITE." The buses placed into service for the evacuation will have displays that read "EMERGENCY EVACUATION " and these buses will only travel between the Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-Up Sites and the opened hurricane evacuation centers. Once a hurricane evacuation center reaches 80 percent capacity, an additional hurricane evacuation center in the surrounding area is opened. All Miami-Dade County hurricane evacuation centers accept individuals with service animals.

If I have to evacuate to a Hurricane Evacuation Center, what should I bring?

You should bring the following items for you and each member of your family:  bottled water, snacks, prescription and emergency medication, extra clothing, pillows, blankets and other comfort items, hygiene supplies, and cash. Refrigeration will be available for prescription or emergency medication. Additionally, special items for children and infants, such as diapers, formulas and toys, should be brought and other special items for family members who are elderly or disabled. 

Why do I need to bring food with me to a Hurricane Evacuation Center?

While Hurricane Evacuation Centers will provide meals such as sandwiches and soups, it will take time to get the food set up and served so you should eat before you leave your home. In addition, you should bring snacks.

It is highly recommended that if you have a special diet, you should bring those dietary items with you, so as to ensure the highest level of comfort during your evacuation away from home.  Please remember to bring a disaster kit that includes: bedding, medications and personal supplies (food, water, and medical equipment).

Why can't I bring my pet to a Hurricane Evacuation Center?

Hurricane Evacuation Centers are places of refuge for all members of the community, many of whom have allergies related to pets or who are afraid of certain animals. As a result, pets will not be allowed in general population Hurricane Evacuation Centers. Though service animals are not considered pets, they are allowed in all Hurricane Evacuation Centers. In addition, Miami-Dade County operates two pet-friendly evacuation centers which will be available to residents who live in evacuation zones or mobile homes.

Sometimes only certain shelters are opened during a hurricane evacuation. Why aren't all Hurricane Evacuation Centers opened?

The decisions about which and how many Hurricane Evacuation Centers will be opened when a hurricane warning is issued is determined on the estimated need for sheltering based on the number of zones and residents under evacuation orders. Hurricane Evacuation Centers that are closest to the zones asked to evacuate will be opened. After the storm has passed, the decision to close Hurricane Evacuation Centers will be made based on when it is safe for individuals to begin to go back to their homes for clean up and recovery.

What are the criteria used when considering a facility as a Hurricane Evacuation Center?

At the beginning of each year, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) presents the American Red Cross of Greater Miami & The Keys (ARC) and the Miami-Dade Office of Emergency Management (OEM) with a list of schools that are available for use as hurricane evacuation centers. A structural survey conducted by a structural engineer and an ARC survey to determine evacuee capacity is required for each school that receives the designation of hurricane evacuation center. The ARC 4496 Guidelines set the minimum hurricane shelter selection guidelines county emergency managers must use when surveying and evaluating hurricane evacuation centers. The ARC 4496 addresses such areas as geographic location (i.e. outside of pre-determined evacuation zones), storm surge inundation, rainfall flooding, lay-down hazard exposure, wind and debris exposure, wind design, construction type, building condition, exterior wall construction, window protection, roof construction and emergency power.

In the mid-1990’s, a public shelter design criteria titled "Enhanced Hurricane Protection Area" (EHPA), was designed to ensure that new schools could meet or exceed applicable construction standards. Since the inception of the EHPA criteria, OEM has prioritized schools with EHPA when selecting hurricane evacuation centers. This is based on their increased structural integrity above the ARC 4496 standard.

A hurricane evacuation center list is released to the public annually on May 1. The list is based on consensus among ARC, OEM and MDCPS, geographic location, capacity, structural integrity, accessibility for people with disabilities and practicable amenities such as restrooms designed for adult use. The primary group of 20 hurricane evacuation centers is sorted into four waves of five schools that are geographically disbursed around the County. The primary hurricane evacuation centers meet all the aforementioned criteria and additionally have a capacity greater than 1000; have a full service kitchen which can store a two to three day supply of food; ample parking and evacuees have access to all shelter areas in the facility during the lockdown period.

The determination of how many hurricane evacuation centers to open depends on the evacuation order issued by the County Mayor. Individuals that are unable to provide their own transportation to a hurricane evacuation center can use public evacuation transportation. Miami-Dade Transit will activate specific Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-Up Sites by zone as directed by OEM. These Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-Up Sites are identified by a sign that reads "

Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-up Site." The buses placed into service for the evacuation will have displays that read "Emergency Evacuation " and these buses will only travel between the Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-Up Sites and the opened hurricane evacuation centers. Once a hurricane evacuation center reaches 80 percent capacity, an additional hurricane evacuation center in the surrounding area is opened. All Miami-Dade County hurricane evacuation centers accept individuals with service animals.
Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-up Site." The buses placed into service for the evacuation will have displays that read "Emergency Evacuation " and these buses will only travel between the Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-Up Sites and the opened hurricane evacuation centers. Once a hurricane evacuation center reaches 80 percent capacity, an additional hurricane evacuation center in the surrounding area is opened. All Miami-Dade County hurricane evacuation centers accept individuals with service animals.

Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-up Site." The buses placed into service for the evacuation will have displays that read "Emergency Evacuation "and these buses will only travel between the Emergency Evacuation Bus Pick-Up Sites and the opened hurricane evacuation centers. Once a hurricane evacuation center reaches 80 percent capacity, an additional hurricane evacuation center in the surrounding area is opened.  All Miami-Dade County hurricane evacuation centers accept individuals with service animals.

 

Can the disabled be accommodated at a HEC?

Miami-Dade residents who on a daily basis require skilled nursing care, assistance with daily living, or have life-saving medical equipment dependent on electricity should register with the Emergency & Evacuation Assistance Program. Residents not requiring such assistance can be accommodated at a HEC.
 
HECs will be augmented with additional resources to better serve and accommodate disabled evacuees including Special Needs Enhanced Beds (SNEB), text telephones (TTY), picture boards and large print material. A limited amount of SNEBs will be available at the Hurricane Evacuation Center for distribution at the discretion of the HEC Liaison. These SNEBs are different from the pads that are normally distributed to evacuees in HECs. The SNEBs are raised off the ground 18 inches and are the correct height for individuals in wheelchairs to transfer to and from. Evacuees who are hard of hearing or deaf can use the picture boards that will be made available to help communicate or written notes may be exchanged in order to maintain effective communication. Sign language interpreters and/or Disability Aides may be present at the HEC based on availability. The HEC will be equipped with TTY phones for use, if necessary, by deaf or hard of hearing individuals to make emergency phone calls. Visually impaired individuals will be provided with communications in large print. If large print is not obtainable, a member of the HEC staff will be available to read the information to the visually impaired evacuees, as will be done with blind evacuees. Upon request, HEC staff shall provide some one-on-one assistance which includes, but is not limited to, assistance in ambulating; feeding or dressing; or acting as a conduit for the provision of information; or assistance recharging of wheelchair batteries, etc.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Wed Apr 2, 2014 11:20:49 AM
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