Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies Location of Special Need Shelters

Special needs evacuees need shelters during evacuations. The Natural Hazards Observer article “What if Hurricane Ivan Had Not Missed New Orleans?” reported: “For those without means, the medically challenged, residents without personal transportation, and the homeless, evacuation required significant assistance. The medically challenged can only be moved short distances to medically equipped shelters. A large storm-resistant structure with appropriate equipment has yet to be constructed or retrofitted; the Superdome was used to shelter non-evacuees during Ivan.”

The City of New Orleans also used the Superdome as a special needs shelter during Hurricane Georges. The Homeland Response article “Evacuation: What We Can Learn—and Cannot Learn—from Hurricanes” reported: “New Orleans tried using the Superdome as a last-resort shelter during Hurricane Georges, but people showed up that were not special needs. When the threat subsided, they broke into concessions and carried off furniture. Planners have since identified future special needs shelters, but they do not plan to announce to the general public.”

February 7, 2006
Publication #FHWA–HOP-08-015