Emergency Shelters

​ If you do go to a shelter, know that they are often crowded. Be prepared to live in close quarters with strangers for several days. Secure your home and shut off utilities (water, gas, electricity) before leaving.

Because each situation is unique, only certain shelters may be opened during an emergency. Local TV news programs and radio stations should have up-to-date information on shelter locations and opening times.

Shelters operate according to rules established by the American Red Cross. Please familiarize yourself with these rules (see below) before going to a shelter.

Virginia Beach Shelters

Medical Shelter

The City has the ability to open​ a Medically Friendly Shelter in the event one is needed. The MFS is only activated for a Category 2 or greater hurricane or as directed by the City Manager. The MFS is for people who, during periods of evacuation or emergency, requires sheltering assistance due to physical, mental or cognitive impairment, or a sensory disability that exceeds the basic level of care provided at a general population shelter, but does not require the level of care provided at a skilled medical facility. Includes help with administering medication, personal hygiene assistance with activities of daily living (washing, dressing and eating. The MFS is not for people who have significant medical problems, injuries or illnesses and/or that require total dependence on others for care. Examples: Bedridden, have NG tubes for feeding, require monitoring and pain management after recent injury, surgery or who are contagious.​​​​​

​Shelter Rules
  • You must sign in before being officially admitted into any shelter

  • "Shelter hopping" is not permitted

  • You are responsible for your belongings. Valuables should always be locked in your car or kept with you. The shelter is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items.

  • Parents are responsible for controlling the actions of and knowing the whereabouts of their children. Children should not be left unattended.

  • If you have a medical condition or are taking medication, please notify the shelter registrar for referral to the nurse.

  • Noise levels should be kept at a minimum during all hours of the day. Quiet hours are observed between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

  • Please do your best to keep the shelter as neat and orderly as possible.

What to Bring to a Shelter

Be sure to bring enough supplies to last at least three days for each family member.

​Bottled water​​Canned/packaged food

​Manual can opener & cooler​Disposable plates, cups, utensils etc.

​Portable flashlight & batteries​Battery powered radio, TV

​Folding chairs​Change of comfortable clothing and shoes

Cot/sleeping bag/blanket & pillow ​​Quiet games, toys, books, cards

​First aid kit and any medications​Toiletries, glasses/contacts, hearing aids & dentures

​ID, car keys, credit cards & cashSpecial-diet foods

​Photocopies of important papers (i.e. insurance policies)​Baby supplies (i.e. food/formula, diapers, etc.)

Prohibited Items
  • Alcohol, drugs, other illegal substances

  • Pets (except assistance dogs)

  • Loud radios or televisions

  • Smoking, matches, lighters

  • Weapons of any kind (guns, knives, chains, etc.)

It Is a Good Idea to Consider Going to a Shelter If:

  • You live in an evacuation zone where there likely will be flooding.

  • ​You live in a mobile home or trailer

  • You live in a high-rise. Winds are much stronger at higher elevations

  • You know your building is unsafe and you can't repair it before the storm

  • You use life-support equipment that requires electricity

If none of these conditions apply to you, you should think about staying put and fortifying your home, something experts call "sheltering in place." However, if your house is not prepared and fortified or windows and doors are not properly covered, even the weaker winds at the perimeter of a hurricane can cause serious damage.

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