Important Phone Numbers

Sarasota County Emergency Management


TDD  or TYY – deaf communications 941-361-1833

Manatee County Emergency Management


Charlotte County Emergency Management 


DeSoto County Emergency Management


American Red Cross

  • Sarasota: 941-379-9300
  • Charlotte: 941-629-4345
  • Florida West Coast-Southwest Florida Chapter: 877-741-1444
  • National: 800-733-2767

Federal and State Agencies 

Federal Emergency Management Agency  – 800-621-3362

FEMA ( TTY for hearing impaired )  – 800-462-7585

Florida Division of Emergency Management – 850-413-9969

In a declared disaster, call Florida Emergency Information at 800-342-3557

Florida Department of Elder Affairs – 850-414-2000

Elder Help Line – 800-963-5337

Senior Choices of Southwest Florida  – 239-652-6900 or 866-413-5337

Elder Help Line in Manatee County – 941-742-5818 

Florida Division of Insurance Fraud  – 850-413-3115

Florida Department of Financial Services  – 877-693-5236

FEMA National Flood Insurance Program  – 800-611-6122 

TTY: 800-427-5593

NOAA, National Weather Service local  – 813-645-2323

Small Business Administration: 800-827-5722

Disaster Field Operations Center East: 800-659-2955

NOAA, National Hurricane Center  – nhc.noaa.gov; contact at NHC.Public.Affairs@noaa.gov

List of Shelters

Sarasota County Shelters

Manatee County Shelters

Special Needs Shelter – Sarasota County  941- 861-5000

The Sarasota County Special Needs Shelter is a shelter of last resort for people with special medical needs. The shelter provides for safety and very basic needs during an emergency. The shelter which is staffed by nurses and doctors from the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County is for residents who rely on electrical power for their medical equipment and nursing assistance.

The public must register in advance to use the Special Needs Shelter.

Special Needs Shelter – Manatee County  941- 749-350, x1667

The Special Needs Registry is designed to assist residents of Manatee County who will require transportation or sheltering assistance when the citizen is notified to evacuate their residence because of a storm.

If you are a resident of Charlotte County then contact Charlotte Emergency Management Services at 941-833-400 to confirm eligibility. 

Safeguard Documents 

  • Store your important documents ( ie banking information, identification: driver’s license/ passport, personal and property insurance, personal and financial records) in a password-protected area in the cloud or on a secure thumb drive that you can keep readily available. 

On Your Phone

  • Keep your contacts updated across all your channels, including phone, email, and social media. Consider creating a group list of your top contacts 
  • Learn how to send updates via text and internet from your mobile phone to your contacts and social channels in case voice communications are not available. Text messages and the internet often work even when there is a phone service disruption
  • Keep extra batteries for your phone in a safe place or purchase a solar-powered or hand crank charger
  • Program ” In Case of Emergency” (ICE) contacts into your cellphone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you are unable to use your phone. Let your ICE contacts know that they are programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs you may have
  • If you have a traditional landline ( non-broadband or VOIP ) phone, keep at least one non-cordless receiver in your home because it may work even if you lose power
  • Forward your home phone number to your cellphone number if you have call forwarding on your home phone. 
  • If you do not have a cellphone keep a prepaid phone card to use if needed during or after a disaster 
  • Prepare a family contact sheet. This should include at least one out-of-town contact that may be better able to reach family members in an emergency
  • Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio or television available (with spare batteries) 
  • Keep phone calls brief, try to only convey vital information to emergency personnel and/or family 
  • If you are unsuccessful in completing a call using your cellphone, wait 10 seconds before redialing to help reduce network congestion.  
  • Conserve your cellphone battery by reducing the brightness of your screen, placing your phone in airplane mode, and closing apps you are not using that draw power

What to Take to a Hurricane Shelter

  • Identification, cash, and coins
  • Bedding (including towels, blankets, sleeping bags, air mattresses)
  • Folding lawn or camping chair
  • Medications, supplies, and prescriptions (at least a 2-week supply)
  • Nonperishable food and snacks
  • Bottled water and/or other non-alcoholic beverages
  • Basic eating utensils and plates
  • Baby supplies
  • Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, other personal hygiene items
  • Extra clothing
  • Flashlights and battery-operated radio or TV with extra batteries

Steps to Take to Protect Your Pets

  • Be sure pets have current immunizations well before hurricane season begins
  • Take a photo of your pet and attach it to its immunization records
  • Prepare a pet disaster supply kit 
  • Ask relatives or friends, outside the affected area, whether they could shelter your pets
  • Prepare a list of boarding facilities that could shelter animals in an emergency 
  • Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter in a disaster. Animal shelters may be overburdened caring for the animals they already have, so this should be your last resort. 

Pet Supplies 

  • At least a two-week supply of food 
  • Water, food bowls, and toys 
  • Medications 
  • Specific care instructions 
  • Plastic bags for handling waste; cat litter 
  • Muzzles, if necessary 
  • Manual can opener 

If You Evacuate

If you must leave your home, take your pet’s immunization records with you in waterproof bags. Make sure all dogs and cats are wearing collars with up-to-date identification. Attach the phone number and address of a temporary shelter or of a relative or friend outside your area. Put IDs on your pet’s carriers and possessions. 

Pet-Friendly Shelters 


Openings vary with each emergency. Stay tuned to local media for a list of shelters that will open.

  • Braden River High, 6545 State Road 70 E., Bradenton 
  • Manatee High, 1000 32nd St. W., Bradenton 
  • Mills Elementary School, 7200 69th St. E., Palmetto 


All hurricane evacuation centers have been designated as pet-friendly 


All emergency shelters sites are pet-friendly

Be Informed 

Download the FEMA app. Receive weather alerts from The National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the US. Sign up for FEMA text message updates ( standard message and data rates apply). 

Get Started: 

  • To sign up to receive preparedness tips: text PREPARE to 43362
  • To search for open shelters (for disaster survivors): text SHELTER and a zip code to 43362 
  • List of all keywords you can subscribe to text LIST to 43362 
  • To unsubscribe: text STOP to 43362 

Before a Disaster

  • Follow local government on social media to stay up-to-date with official information before, during, and after a disaster 
  • Sign up from Twitter alerts from trusted government agencies to get notified when critical information goes out
  • Visit the Alerts setup page of the agency you want to receive notifications from 


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