Broward County to open shelters; voluntary evacuations underway

Mayor says residents must register for pet-friendly shelters

PLANTATION, Fla. – A voluntary evacuation is underway in Broward County, and shelters in 11 locations are now open, Mayor Marty Kiar said Wednesday.

Broward County is currently under a hurricane warning because of Hurricane Matthew, with tropical storm-force winds expected to affect the county Thursday.

The voluntary evacuations are for residents in low-lying areas and mobile homes.

The mayor also announced that Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport will close at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. All flights will be canceled after that time.

Travelers are asked to call their airline for up-to-date flight information into and out of Broward County.

Some people Local 10 News reporter Janine Stanwood spoke to at FLL Wednesday night said they cut their trips short to return home to prepare for the storm.

"I came back early because my wife was here by herself and I wanted to make sure everything was buttoned down for tomorrow's storm," John Friedrich said.

"I live in Fort Lauderdale, actually Pompano Beach, and I'm working in Seattle," Ed Glahome said. "I've been working there since March, but I was waiting until the last minute to get out here and shutter everything up because we heard the storm was coming."

Passengers said the airport performed a generator test earlier in the evening in Terminal 3, which knocked out AC in the terminal.

A photo taken from inside the airport shows paramedics assisting a woman who apparently passed out from the heat.

Broward County transportation will not be in service on Thursday.

Kiar said pets are not allowed at the general population shelters, except for service animals. He said a pet-friendly shelter will be made available at Millenium Middle School in Tamarac to those who call the Humane Society of Broward County to register.

Residents must register for a special-needs shelter no later than 11:30 p.m. Wednesday by calling the Broward County Emergency Hotline at 311.

Special needs shelters are appropriate for those who:

·         Are dependent on electricity for their medical or mobility equipment.

·         Have minor health/medical conditions that require professional observation, assessment and maintenance.

·         Require assistance with personal care and/or assistance with medications but do not require hospitalization or a medical institution.

·         Need assistance with medication administration and/or vital sign readings and are unable to do so without professional assistance.

Ben Bellucci from the American Red Cross was at the Arthur Ashe Middle School shelter early Thursday and said that the shelter had about 600 people inside, about half-capacity. He said any resident of Broward County was welcome to come to the shelter.

Kiar said residents who are going to shelters should bring food, bedding, medicine, clothes and any other supplies they need for up to three days. 

The mayor also had a message for tourists who might be stuck in Broward County.

"If you're going to be here during the storm, please stay in your hotels, if that's where you're staying, stay with a family member or a friend, if you're here visiting them, or go to one of our shelters," Kiar said.

Kiar said the county's informational hotline 311 is now operational around the clock.

Click here for a list of Broward County hurricane shelters.


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