Shelters offer a secure environment for individuals and families impacted by disasters, where they can sleep or rest. These facilities often provide food, drinks, bedding, sanitation, safety, first aid, and information about recovery initiatives. They are accessible to the entire community. Staff at these shelters handle personal information with confidentiality and make efforts to respect and cater to the diverse cultural and religious practices of the residents, which can influence sleeping and eating arrangements and include providing space for spiritual practices. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other civil rights legislations, shelters are obligated to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities and their aides, ensuring they can fully participate in and benefit from the shelter's offerings.

Residents in need of urgent medical care beyond what the shelter can provide should be given access to a medical facility.

During an emergency, the Yavapai County Office of Emergency Management will coordinate with non-governmental organizations to establish sheltering for those impacted during an emergency. YCOEM must be aware of an incident taking place and the need for services in order to activate the organizations. 

Emergency Shelter

An Emergency Shelter is an accessible facility to provide a safe place to congregate when residents are unable to remain in their homes. The main difference between a warming/cooling center and emergency shelter is that an emergency shelter typically specializes in people fleeing a specific type of situation, such as natural or man-made disasters. Another difference from a warming/cooling center is that people staying in emergency shelters are provided places to sleep and/or eat for an extended period. If the shelter is run by the Red Cross facilities are ADA compliant and non-acute medical care and disaster mental health services are available. 


Cooling Center

Cooling Center is a facility that has been opened for short term operations due to a specific emergency or event. They are normally opened when hot temperatures may become dangerous. 

Warming Center

Warming Center is a facility that has been opened for short term operations due to a specific emergency or event. They are normally opened when temperatures or a combination of precipitation, wind chill, wind and temperatures have or may become dangerous. Their paramount purpose is the prevention of death and injury related to exposure to the elements. Warming centers can help stranded motorists, or residents that have lost critical services. Some warming centers may provide limited food, showers, charging stations and places to rest.


The Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act mandates the inclusion of domestic animals in disaster preparedness and response plans, recognizing the importance of pets to their owners. This law ensures that during emergencies, accommodations are made for the safe evacuation, sheltering, and care of pets. Facilities used for emergency sheltering must provide separate spaces for animals or collaborate with animal shelters to ensure their safety and well-being. These facilities are required to supply necessary sustenance, water, and medical attention to pets in their care. Effective management also involves maintaining detailed records for animal identification and health monitoring, crucial for reuniting pets with their owners post-disaster. Additionally, maintaining a clean environment to prevent disease and ensuring staff are trained in specialized animal care and handling are essential components of compliant emergency planning. This comprehensive approach helps communities to better withstand and recover from disasters, safeguarding both human and animal residents.

Shelters or Cooling/Warming Centers

Upon receiving a request or notification about an event that necessitates the opening of a shelter or a cooling/warming center, the Yavapai County Office of Emergency Management (YCOEM) collaborates with the American Red Cross to establish a facility from a pre-identified list of suitable locations in Yavapai County. The selected site is determined based on its proximity to the incident and its safety from potential hazards.

To staff these facilities, volunteers are mobilized, and local entities like churches or the American Legion may partner with the American Red Cross. These organizations can host their own shelters or centers using supplies from the American Red Cross, although they will manage staffing independently.

This collaboration enhances local resilience and operational capacity. In parallel, YCOEM initiates the Animal Disaster Services to arrange for animal sheltering, ideally at the same location as the American Red Cross facility. In the event they are unable to co-locate, ADS has alternate locations pre-identified for deployment. 

For incidents affecting rural or farm animals, the Large Animal Shelter and Emergency Readiness (LASER) team is engaged to set up and prepare their specialized facilities. When there is a need for animal sheltering, volunteers are called upon to provide care and protection for these animals; their primary location is at Arizona Downs off Highway 89A. However, they have another location at the Equestrian Park in Chino Valley.