Media Release

10-06-16 Noon Hurricane Matthew Update: Early Sheltering for Special Needs

Thursday, October 6, 2016 12:00 PM

Hurricane MatthewALACHUA COUNTY, FL – Although no mandatory evacuation is expected, the Alachua County Emergency Response Team is recommending early evacuation for those persons with special needs in order to accommodate transport needs. This is encouraged for those living in homes that are potentially unsafe in high winds (e.g. mobile homes), people who live in flood-prone areas, people who live in areas that frequently lose power during storms, and those who have nowhere else to go. The special needs shelter opened at 11 a.m. today (October 6, 2016), and is located at the Alachua County Senior Center (5701 N.W. 34th Blvd, Gainesville).

The special needs shelter is for those with special medical needs, such as oxygen dependency. Those in need of transportation assistance, please call 352-955-2575 or 352-955-2576. Please be aware that non-emergency transportation will be available until 9:00 pm Thursday 10/6/2016. This transportation is limited by sustained wind speed and may not be available on Friday 10/7/2016. Please call on Friday to see if transportation is available is needed.

The special needs shelter has cots available. Please be sure that you bring all medications, medical supplies, hygiene products, medical equipment (i.e. pumps, batteries, charges, A/C Adapters, etc.) If a person requires constant care, the appropriate caregiver id required come to the shelter and stay with the person requiring care.

Please see Special Needs Shelter Eligibility Guidelines for consideration of shelter types and accommodations. If you have questions as to whether or not you meet criteria for the Special Needs Shelter, please call 352-955-2580. Please remember that no pets or animals are permitted at any shelter.

The special needs shelter is located at the Alachua County Senior Center (5701 N.W. 34th Blvd, Gainesville). The general population shelters will open at 5 p.m. and are located at Rawlings Elementary (3500 N.E. 15th Street, Gainesville), and the Easton Newberry Sports Complex (24880 N.W. 16th Ave, Newberry).

Alachua County Animal Services is requesting that pet owners bring their pet directly to Animal Services (3400 N.E. 53rd Ave., Gainesville) prior to evacuating to a designated shelter during normal business hours (10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.). After 5:30 p.m., Animal Services Field Officers will transport animals from the shelters to Animal Services but that service will be limited depending on weather conditions. Animal Services will hold all pets until the storm warning has been lifted in Alachua County at which time pet owners will be expected to pick up their pet. Animal Services Headquarter phone number is 352-264-6870. For after-hours call the non-emergency line at 352-955-1818 to reach the on-call Animal Services Officer.

Residents are also encouraged to stay informed about major storm conditions by following Alachua County on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribing to the County's press releases.

For more information, contact Alachua County Communications and Legislative Affairs Director Mark Sexton at 352-264-6979.


  • Mark Sexton
  • Communications & Legislative Affairs Director
  • Phone: 352-374-5204
  • Cell: 352-283-2317

If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).