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Shelter FAQs

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Where are Pender County shelters?

There are four Pender County shelters which are all located in schools. Shelter locations

How do I know when it is time to go to a shelter?

Shelters will be opened once the County or a municipality issues a mandatory or voluntary evacuation order. The County will release shelter information regarding locations and what time shelters will open through the website, social media, and the news media. Your municipality or area does not have to be under an evacuation order for you to go to a shelter. If shelters are open and you feel they are safer than staying in your home during a storm, then you may go to any shelter in the County.

What should I bring to a shelter?

Shelters will provide food, water, and bathrooms. You should bring your disaster supply kit if you can. If you can’t, at least try to bring hygiene items (tooth brush, deodorant, etc.), blanket, pillow, any needed medications, and identification papers. A limited number of cots are available, but are intended only for those with physical limitations that do not allow them to get on or up from the floor easily (the elderly, pregnant, physically disabled, etc.). Although food will be provided, you should bring snacks that you and your family like. Meal times may not be at the time you are used to eating. Due to COVID-19, you should also bring a face mask, hand sanitizer, and other personal cleaning items you have available.

What should I NOT bring to a shelter?

All shelters are in school buildings, therefore, drugs, alcohol, and firearms are not allowed. Remember, there will be families with young children staying at the shelters, so try to be considerate of others when deciding what is appropriate to bring.

Are shelters safe?

Shelters are specifically chosen with safety in mind. During a storm, you will most likely stay in an interior hallway away from windows. Large rooms with wide-span ceilings, such as gyms, will not be used until after the winds have stopped blowing. The chosen shelters are not in flood-prone areas. Each shelter location has a generator to power lights and the kitchen area. At least one law enforcement officer and one nurse are stationed at each shelter. There will also be an amateur radio operator (also known as ham radio) at each shelter as an extra line of communication to the County Emergency Operations Center in the event that phone lines are inoperable.

What about special medical needs?

At least one nurse from the Health Department will be stationed at each shelter. You are responsible for you or your family member’s medications and medical equipment. However, nursing staff will assist with ensuring you have somewhere to set up your equipment such as portable oxygen or if you have medications that need refrigeration. If you or a family member will need more assistance during an event, sign up for the Disaster Medical Support Registry or call the Health Department 910-259-1230.

Can I take a shower? Can I wash my clothes?

Shower facilities and laundry facilities are not available at shelter locations during an event. If conditions in the County require sheltering for an extended time period, accommodations will be made.

Can I smoke?

Smoking is allowed outside in designated areas. Please clean up your cigarette butts.

What about my pets?

Cape Fear Middle School is designated as the pet-friendly shelter. Cats and dogs may be sheltered here during a storm. They must be in a carrier (carriers are available in limited quantities if you don’t have one) and you must provide food and care for them during your stay. Pets will stay in a designated area of the shelter, they will not stay with you, but you will be able to feed them and take them out for potty breaks.

What about COVID-19?

Pender County shelters will still be open during COVID-19, but shelters should be used as a last resort. If it is possible and if it is safe, you should try to make plans to stay with friends or family or at an inland motel. You will be expected to wear a face mask at all times (except when eating). Additional bedding space will be provided for each family unit and additional screening will take place at the entrance of each shelter. Those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, etc.) or those that are currently positive for COVID-19 will be housed separately. Family units will stay together. NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY DUE TO HEALTH STATUS. You will be expected to remain with your family unit during the entirety of your stay.

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