Orange County will be opening shelters for the general population starting at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, including pet-friendly shelters, Mayor Teresa Jacobs announced Friday.

Pet-friendly shelters will be opened at Barnett Park on West Colonial Drive and the Bithlo Community Center in Bithlo.

General population shelters will be opened at Apopka, Colonial, East River, Edgewater and West Orange high schools, and at Memorial and Odyssey middle schools.

People with special medical needs or who are housebound are asked to call 311 or 407-836-3111 for assistance, and to call 311 or 407-836-9319 for registration forms and instructions. The county does not publicly disclose the locations of those shelters.

All Orange County shelters follow the practices and procedures established by the American Red Cross. Individuals are asked to complete an informational registration form, but no identification is required.

For individuals participating in a state registry, appropriate shelters are available; staff and volunteers can help direct individuals as necessary. Please note that shelters are alcohol, drug and weapon free zones.

Residents taking pets to pet-friendly shelters are asked to ensure pet vaccinations are current and consider microchipping pets if not already done so to ensure you can find pets in the event you are separated. They also are asked to have a copy of the pet’s medical records.

For more information, check the county’s Hurricane Irma emergency website.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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