In the event of a large storm or significant event, the City, in conjunction with Cumberland County Emergency Management and the American Red Cross may open an emergency shelter. 

There are three levels that the city may use to provide shelter options for residents and visitors to the city. 

  • The first is a Warming (or Cooling) Center. These are city and private facilities that are only staffed with normal staffers (no special shelter staffing) primarily to allow people who are without power to come in and warm up (cool down), charge up cell phones and other devices, and take showers and clean up. There are no sleeping arrangements nor would there be any feeding accommodations. Usually, these are available during normal business hours (which may be extended if needed) and all existing facility rules are still in effect (such as any restrictions on pets). 
  • The second is a local shelter where city staff provide a location to spend days and nights as needed. This is a limited shelter as no Red Cross staff are present. No food or medical services would be provided. In most cases there probably will be a Regional Shelter set up by the Red Cross in a neighboring community that would have full services, but for various reasons it was determined not to open a Regional Shelter in South Portland.
  • The third is the Regional Shelter which would be staffed with city staff as well as staff from the Red Cross and Cumberland County EMA. As such, a Regional Shelters is available to more than just the residents of the community it is located in. Regional Shelters are capable of feeding, providing minimal medical care, and pet sheltering.

The City Of South Portland has designated the following locations as Centers and Shelters:

  • City Hall, Council Chambers 25 Cottage Rd: Cooling Center Only
  • Community Center, 21 Nelson Road: Regional Shelter, Local Shelter, Warming Center Only (no cooling)
  • Redbank Community Center, 105 Macarthur Circle West: Warming/Cooling Center (only when there is CMP power)
  • Main Library, 482 Broadway: Warming/Cooling Center (only when there is CMP power)

The City will publicize available shelter types, locations, and hours on the City website, the City Facebook page, Department Facebook pages, news and media outlets, 211 Maine, Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency, and with Maine Emergency Management Agency. Members of the public should also be able to call City Hall to inquire about shelters.

Suggested list of what to take with you if you evacuate your home or go to a shelter in time of a disaster.

  • Special dietary foods 
  • Baby foods / formula / bottles / etc. 
  • Diapers / wipes / etc.
  • One week supply of medicine in original containers
  • Small cooler of ice, if refrigeration is needed for medication
  • If using oxygen, bring your concentrator & as many full, portable tanks as possible
  • Lightweight cot or folding lounge chair
  • Blankets / sleeping bags / pillows / sheets
  • Flashlights / nightlight 
  • Portable radio
  • Electronic chargers
  • Plenty of extra batteries
  • Clothing for one week 
  • Winter clothing or rain gear (season dependent)
  • Towels / washcloths / soap 
  • Toiletries / other personal care / feminine hygiene items
  • Spare eyeglasses / contacts including supplies
  • Quiet games and “favorite” toys for children
  • Identification


  • Hurricane and storm shelters will be available for people who have no other place to go. Shelters may be crowded and uncomfortable with no privacy and potentially no electricity. (Those shelters designated for people with medical dependencies should have electricity).

  • DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOME UNTIL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE on radio and/or television or you verify by contacting emergency officials by phone that a particular shelter is open. 

  • Shelters are typically located in schools or other buildings that provide a large “safe” area inside a sturdy building. They tend to be barren and the sheltering visitors bring in most “comforts”.