North Central Health District


Guidelines for Good Samaritan Shelters


Do you plan on helping out during Hurricane Irma? If you are offering shelter and food to evacuees, make sure to follow these guidelines to ensure you provide a safe environment for those you’re helping.

Safety Guidelines for Good Samaritan Shelters


  • Ensure hands are washed frequently. Hand washing should occur: after using the restroom, sneezing or coughing, after dumping trash and before handling any food product.


  • Avoid bare hand contact with ready to eat foods (food that requires no preparation such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and prepackage/precooked items).


  • If you are sick avoid all contact with food preparation.


  • Sick individuals should be separated from healthy individuals inside the shelter.


  • Hot food items should be kept at 135°F or higher, while Cold food items should be kept at 41°F or less.


  • Food product not being served immediately should be kept under refrigeration. All food product left out at room temperature should be discarded after 2 hours.


  • Limit donations of food from outside sources. It is best to accept prepackaged food items. Ex: Aunt Betty makes the best chicken pot pie, but thaws her chicken at room temperature, while allowing her vegetable mixture to chill on the kitchen counter. After cooking the pot pies, she does not deliver them for a few hours, and leaves them out at room temperature. Her husband, Bobby is sick with the flu. Although it may be from the heart Aunt Betty’s pies may be hazardous for the individuals in the shelter to consume.


  • If the shelter is connected to well-water, it is strongly encouraged that bottled water is utilized. (Testing may need to take place before water is utilized)


  • Ensure there are adequate waste receptacles. (Trash may not be collected on Sunday’s due to the landfill being closed).


  • Ensure all medications and chemicals are kept out of children’s reach at all times.


If you have any additional questions, contact your local health department.

Additional Resources


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