Public Health Guide for Emergency Shelters in Missouri

For Shelter Coordinators and Staff

When a disaster forces people to evacuate, they need a place to go until it is safe to return home. They may need to stay for only a few hours, but it could be for days, even weeks. This guide was developed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to introduce and discuss some of the many aspects of planning for and opening an emergency shelter. It provides a brief overview of public health concerns plus the main areas of concern for shelter operations such as food and water, pest control, waste management,Emergency Shelter Guide cover and life safety.

View the shelter guide in pdf format.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed an Environmental Health Shelter Assessment Tool to be used by environmental health practitioners in conducting a rapid assessment of shelter conditions during emergencies and disasters. The tool is an assessment form that covers 14 general areas of environmental health, ranging from basic food safety and water quality to pet (companion animal) wellness, and allows for the documentation of immediate needs in shelters. It can be easily modified to meet local needs.