MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Florida Keys are the most hurricane prone area of the United States with some 600 miles of coastline. Most of the Keys are no more than 4 to 7 feet above sea level. This means the Keys are especially vulnerable to storm surge flooding.

EVACUATIONS:

Monroe County’s emergency plan calls for a “Phased Evacuation.” This evacuation plan is intended to avoid unnecessary evacuation if some zones are expected to be affected and others are not. Locate the zone you live in so that you will know when to leave if an evacuation for your zone becomes necessary.

In a category 3 or higher hurricane: Evacuation to the mainland is mandatory. Monroe County will not open any shelters in a category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane.

In a Category 1 or 2 hurricane: Monroe County offers four shelters.

Key West High School
2100 Flagler Avenue, Key West
Capacity: 352

Sugarloaf School, Sugarloaf Key
Crane Blvd., 1 block north of U.S. 1 at MM19
Capacity: 307

Marathon High School
350 Sombrero Rd.
Capacity: 280

Coral Shores High School, Plantation Key
U.S. 1 (oceanside) at MM 90
Capacity: 236

Category 1 and 2 shelters are pet-friendly.

After an evacuation has been ordered, anyone choosing to stay will not be able to get medical, fire rescue, or law enforcement help until storm conditions subside, roads are made passable, and equipment is operable.

Once an evacuation order is issued, Monroe County residents seeking public shelter on the mainland will be informed of the shelter locations which may include Florida International University, the E. Darwin Fuchs Pavilion at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition (which allows pets), and other facilities within Miami-Dade County, based on their availability on a per storm basis.

SPECIAL NEEDS SHELTER

Special Needs individuals will be transported to the Special Needs Shelter located at Florida International University (FIU). All Special Needs individuals must be pre-registered with Monroe County Emergency Management.

BRINGING PETS TO A SHELTER

  • Pets must be pre-registered
  • Provide proof of residency within the evacuation zone
  • Present medical and current vaccination records for each pet
  • Sign and return notarized forms

Annual rabies vaccinations and a visible Monroe County dog license are required by Monroe County Code. Cats are also required to have annual rabies vaccinations.

Pets must be properly caged:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Gerbils, hamsters, mice, and rats
  • Guinea pigs and small rabbits (small-sized, under 10 pounds)
  • Ferrets
  • Birds

Emergency Evacuation Bus Pickup Stops  

Emergency bus stop information will be provided when an evacuation is ordered.

Keys residents can also call the Monroe County Emergency Information Hotline at (800) 955-5504. The State of Florida Emergency Information Hotline at (800) 342-3557 is also updated with shelter and evacuation information for the Keys.