Health Care Sheltering Considerations

Health care facilities must have a plan to house patients and maintain care during an evacuation. Administrators who are responsible for making evacuation plans and finding a host facility can use the following questions to determine if a host facility will help them provide the best client care during an evacuation.

  • Is the host facility in a non-evacuation zone?
  • What year was the host facility built?
    • Construction after 2001 must meet building codes for a CAT III rating.
    • Were steps taken to reinforce the host facility against a storm?
  • What type of windows are installed at the host facility? 
    • If the windows are not impact-resistant, are there shutters?
  • Is there a generator at the host facility?
    • If not, will you be taking a portable generator with you?
    • If you are using a portable generator, where will it be operated at the host facility?
    • Who will be supplying fuel?
    • How long will the fuel supply allow you to operate on generator power?
    • If you are supplying the fuel, where will you store additional fuel?
  • Where will patients, residents and supplies be housed?
    • Obtain a floor plan which identifies the space allocated for residents/patients, staff, sheltered families and supplies.
    • Identify food, water and medical needs of all evacuees for a minimum of seven days.
  • Will you provide fans or other equipment to keep the space cool?
  • Will you need beds or cots?
  • How many staff members will evacuate with each load of patients, and how many will stay with them at the host facility?
  • Are your sheltering needs within the operating capacity of the host facility?
    • If not, will you apply for a waiver from the Agency for Health Care Administration?
  • What procedures are in place to keep family members informed?
  • How will you track residents/patients at the host facility?
  • How will you report your status to the Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration?
  • Do you have a plan for backup communication (radio, satellite phone, etc.)?
  • Do you have a plan for electrical, water or sewer failures at the host facility?
  • How will you take care of trash and medical waste?
  • Have you visited the location and performed a walk-through with a member of your staff that is responsible for patient care?

Additional Information

Contact Pinellas County Emergency Management for more information or resources that can help you develop an emergency plan.