As a result of both Hurricanes Hermine and also Matthew, in 2016, it came to light that emergency management needs to do a better job of explaining sheltering.  We put information out that was easily misunderstood. I hope to clarify those points at this point. Always remember, a shelter is a refuge of last resort. If you have friends or family that you can go stay with please do that. We DO NOT have any pet friendly shelters in Columbia County, and if you go to a shelter you will have little to know privacy, they can be noisy and you will likely get a cot and possibly a blanket.

First and foremost we have 21 potential locations that CAN serve as shelters during various events. It is important to understand what the types of shelters are, and also it is important to know that we DO NOT open every shelter all at once. Opening shelters requires personnel to work in those shelters. We have to have staffing on a 24 hour basis when shelters are open and we are actively searching for residents and citizens that are willing to be trained and work as shelter volunteers. You can e-mail me at Shayne_morgan@columbiacountyfla.com if you have an interest in serving as a shelter worker/shelter manager.

There are three different types of shelters that are available: Risk Shelters; Special Needs Shelter; Host Shelters. I will list the shelters one-by-one at the end of this information.

Host shelters: These locations can provide shelter AFTER a storm has passed. These shelters are our older schools and community centers. These do not provide a type of protection for an incoming storm.  Risk Shelters: These shelters can provide a certain amount of protection to those taking shelter from an incoming storm. These shelters are newer construction at local schools. So if it is a risk situation then we have four schools that we can choose from. It is important to know, a RISK shelter CAN BE used as a HOST shelter, because after a storm passes no additional protection is likely to be needed. You must remember though that HOST shelters CANNOT be used as RISK shelters. Host shelters, again, are those that can provide protection after a storm has passed through our area.  The last type of shelter is a Special Needs Shelter. Special Needs Shelters are for those with limited medical conditions. We have a form that can be filled out annually by those that may utilize this shelter. The Columbia County Health Department helps with nurses for special needs shelters. It is important to know that anyone coming into a special needs shelter must have someone with them to help with their care in the Special Needs Shelter. While nurses are on-scene, they do not have the time to devote time to each individual patient that is in the special needs shelter.

 

KEEP IN MIND, THIS LISTING IS JUST THE NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF FACILITIES THAT MAY BE USED DURING AN EVENT.

Always listen to local media and monitor social media for the shelters that are open at any particular time.  BELOW ARE THE NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF THE FACILITY:

 

SPECIAL NEEDS SHELTER:

WESTSIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL -- 1956 SW CR 252-B, Lake City, FL 32024

 

RISK SHELTERS:

WESTSIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL -- 1956 SW CR 252-B, Lake City, FL 32024

COLUMBIA CITY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL -- 7438 SW STATE ROAD 47, Lake City, FL 32024

PINEMOUNT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL -- 324 SW GABRIEL PLACE, Lake City, FL 32024

FORT WHITE HIGH SCHOOL -- 17828 SW STATE ROAD 47, FORT WHITE, FL 32038

 

HOST SHELTERS: (Any building above COULD be used as a HOST shelter):

Columbia High School -- 469 SE Fighting Tiger Drive, Lake City, FL 32025

Eastside Elementary School -- 256 SE Beech Street, Lake City, FL 32025

Five Points Elementary School -- 303 NW Johnson Street, Lake City, FL 32055

Fort White Elementary School -- 18119 SW State Road 47, Fort White, FL 32038

Fort White Middle School -- 2253 SW Cook Street, Fort White, FL 32038

Lake City Middle School -- 843 SW Arlington Blvd, Lake City, FL 32025

Melrose Park Elementary School -- 820 SE Putnam Street, Lake City, FL 32025

Niblack Elementary School -- 837 NE Broadway Avenue, Lake City, FL 32055

Richardson Middle School -- 646 SE Pennsylvania St, Lake City, FL 32025

Summers Elementary School -- 1388 SW McFarlane Ave., Lake City, FL 32025

 

COMMUNITY CENTERS:

Deep Creek Community Center -- 11934 N US HWY 441, Lake City, FL 32055

Lulu Community Center -- 205 SE Community Drive, Lulu, FL 32061

Mason City Community Center -- 11110 S US Highway 441, Lake City, FL 32025

Richardson Community Center -- 255 NE Coach Anders Ln, Lake City, FL 32055

South Columbia/Fort White Community Center -- 17579 SW State Road 47, Fort White, FL 32038

Springville Community Center -- 3710 NW Suwannee Valley Road, Lake City, FL 32055

Westside Community Center -- 431 SW Birley Ave, Lake City, FL 32024

Winfield Community Center -- 1324 NW Winfield Street, Lake City, FL 32055

 

Again, do not forget, we do not have the personnel to open all of the shelters at a single time. We will start with shelters closest to the affected areas of the county and move along from there.  The only exception would be that if we are hosting evacuees from outside of our area, we will pick community centers that are not terribly far from the Interstates or major road ways depending on the event.

As always, if you have any additional questions please let me know.