(SS) Broward County plans to open evacuation shelters in advance of Hurricane Irma but hasn’t decided yet when the shelters will open.
“We’re probably looking to open shelters very soon,” Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief said in news conference Tuesday morning. “We’re looking to open shelters earlier than we did in Hurricane Matthew.”
She said the county will have more information about when shelters will open Tuesday afternoon.
Individuals with special needs who have not registered with the county should call its 311 telephone line now to register, Sharief said.
County officials plan to move individuals with special needs into shelters starting Wednesday.
“We are working with counties to the north and the south to coordinate evacuations if necessary,” Sharief said.
At 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Broward began operating at Level 3, which involves monitoring and assessing the storm.
Level 1, which is full activation of all emergency support functions in the county, is tentatively expected sometime Thursday morning.
The county is also operating an emergency hotline, which will be active 24/7 starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The hotline can be reached by calling 311, or 954-831-4000.
The next Broward County update is expected at 3 p.m.
“Broward County may be experiencing tropical force storm winds as early as Friday evening,” Sharief said.
A hurricane shelter is the place to go if you can't stay at home or with a relative or friend. They are set up in schools or other large solidly constructed buildings, but their locations can change from year to year.
The Red Cross runs public shelters, but medical care will not be available. Shelters have food, but if you have special diet needs or want snacks, bring your own. You can’t take guns or alcohol to shelters. Click here for what you need to bring.
This story will be updated. Check back for more information.