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FEMA improves texting shelter locator

Those in need of shelter can find their list by texting “shelter” to 43362 along with their zip code.
Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 4:14 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - FEMA updated its text-based shelter locator. Previously, the feature, which sends emergency shelter locations to people via text message, only provided users with zip codes for shelters. Now, the feature will send out full addresses.

The feature was made available through collaboration with the American Red Cross.

“Disasters frequently disrupt communications systems which can leave survivors feeling overwhelmed and helpless when they are trying to locate shelters,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said. “Since texting capabilities are often unaffected during disasters, our updated Text to Shelter option is an easy and accessible way survivors can locate nearby shelters with a tap of a button. This feature will help keep our communities safe.”

The upgraded service uses Geographic Information System (GIS) capabilities to give shelter addresses to users within 200 miles of their zip code. Smart phones can also access GPS directions to shelters by clicking on the addresses.

Those in need of shelter can find their list by texting “shelter” to 43362 along with their zip code.

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