Hurricane Survival Guide: Miami-Dade evacuation and shelters

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There are two types of evacuation instructions in Miami-Dade County:

Evacuation recommendation: Mayor may recommend that certain residents take steps to evacuate due to their personal risk. A recommendation might be issued to residents who may need extra time to evacuate due to mobility challenges or people who live in areas prone to flooding that may not be in storm surge inundation areas.


Evacuation order: Mayor may order residents of specific areas of the county deemed to be in danger, based on a hurricane’s track and projected storm surge.
Areas of the County that should evacuate will be announced through miamidade.gov and local media.

Residents are encouraged to stay with family members or friends who live inland in a non-evacuation area. Hurricane evacuation centers will open, but should only be considered as a shelter of last resort.

Evacuation orders are issued by zones or partial zones. Find out if you live in an area that may be at risk for storm surge by using the Storm Surge Planning Zone Finder. When an evacuation order is given you can find out if you need to evacuate by viewing the Evacuation Orders map.

Storm surge

Storm surge is the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. It occurs when water from the ocean is pushed on shore by the force of tropical storms or hurricanes. This is the primary reason Miami-Dade County residents are asked to evacuate prior to a hurricane.

The Storm Surge Planning Zones map identifies those areas where residents may have to evacuate or shelter in place. These residents are advised to develop alternate plans for either scenario.

Evacuation centers

Once an evacuation is announced, the list of open centers will become available online or by calling 311. Not every evacuation center location will open for every emergency.

Emergency bus pick-up sites will be activated to provide transportation to and from the evacuation centers. If a designated pick-up site is not located near you, use Miami-Dade Transit to get to a pick-up location. Advise the bus operator of your intention to go to an emergency evacuation pick-up site.

Pet-friendly evacuation centers are available for residents living in evacuation areas, unsafe structures or mobile homes. Service animals are permitted at all evacuation centers.

Each evacuee is allotted 20 square feet of space at the evacuation center, so please bring only essential items. All evacuation centers meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for sheltering. Service animals are permitted.

If you need to evacuate, it is important to bring:

  • Sleeping bag/mat or folding cot/lawn chair
  • Infant and child care items, such as formula, diapers, toys, etc.
  • Cash
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Comfort materials, such as books, magazines, etc.
  • Medication (refrigeration will be available for prescription or emergency medication)
  • Drinking water
  • Snacks
  • Extra clothing
  • Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled

While hurricane evacuation centers will provide meals such as sandwiches and soups, it will take time to get the food set up and served, so you should eat before you leave your home. If you have a special diet, you should bring those dietary items with you, so as to ensure the highest level of comfort during your evacuation away from home.

It is strongly recommended to bring portable electronic devices — such as phones, tablets and battery packs - fully charged as there are limited outlets at evacuation centers.

Hurricane Survival Guide