Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March - Shelter

Do 1 Thing…Shelter

The mission of is to move individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and communities to prepare for all hazards and become disaster resilient.

THE GOAL: Know how to respond safely when instructions are given to evacuate or take shelter.

Do One Thing (choose one thing to do this month):

*Identify the best tornado shelter in your home and workplace.
*Make a Go Bag for emergency sheltering.
*Talk to your child’s school regarding their sheltering procedures.
*Have a leash or carrier to evacuate or contain your pet in an emergency.

Shelter from the Storm
Choosing the best place in your home or workplace to shelter from a tornado isn’t always easy. Many newer buildings don’t have a really good shelter area. Use these guidelines to find the best tornado shelter possible:
• Stay away from windows and skylights
• Shelter on the lowest level possible.
• Put as many walls between yourself and the outside as possible.
• Avoid rooms with large ceiling expanses
• Find an area that is large enough for everyone to stay comfortably for at least 45 minutes.

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, cover windows with plywood or hurricane shutters when a hurricane warning is issued (don’t use tape). If you are advised to evacuate, do so. If you are not advised to evacuate, stay inside and away from windows until the storm has completely passed.

Shelter in Place
In an emergency like a hazardous materials release you may be told to shelter-in-place. This means to make the place where you are a safe place to stay until the danger has passed. Shelter-in-place orders are given when it would be dangerous for you to leave your home or the building you are in.

In a hazardous materials incident, outdoor warning sirens may be sounded to alert residents in the area that it is not safe to remain outside. Emergency responders may go door to door in the affected area, or they may use loudspeakers from police or fire vehicles to give instructions. Information will also be given over television or radio using the Emergency Alert System and can also be received on a NOAA all-hazards weather radio.

What to do in a hazardous materials incident
The first thing to do when a chemical release or other hazardous materials incident occurs is to get information. If responders are not in the area giving instructions, turn on the television or radio to find out if your area is affected and what steps to take. Never call 911 to get information about an emergency. Only call 911 if you are injured or need assistance.

If you are in an area affected by the chemical release, you will be told to do one of two things: Evacuate or Shelter in Place. Listen carefully to instructions. If you are told to shelter in place you should close all doors and windows and shut off fans and air conditioners. Take your family to a room with as few doors and windows as possible. You may be told to put towels or tape around the cracks of the windows and doors. Follow emergency instructions carefully. Make sure you take a battery powered radio with you so that you will know when the danger has passed. Power in your area may be shut off during the incident.

Infectious Disease Outbreaks
During an infectious disease outbreak, people may be isolated or quarantined to prevent the spread of disease. The purpose of quarantine is to keep people who may have been exposed to a disease separate until it is known if they will get sick. Isolation means keeping people who are sick away from others. You may be isolated or quarantined in your home or in a hospital. Contact your local health department to find out about disease response plans in your community.

Emergency Evacuation Shelter
Emergency evacuation shelters will be opened when people are evacuated from their homes. In most areas emergency shelters are operated by the American Red Cross. At the Red Cross Shelter:
• Most Red Cross shelters are opened in school gyms or churches.
• You will be given a cot to sleep on, but you may need to provide your own pillow or blanket.
• Bring ID if possible, and know your social security number. You may need to apply to FEMA for disaster assistance funding while still at the shelter.
• The Red Cross will not give any information about you to anyone without your permission.
• Meals and bottled water will be provided.
• Public officials will provide information about the disaster to the shelter.
• Assistance will be available to provide basic first-aid care.
• Weapons and alcohol are not allowed in Red Cross shelters.
• There is never any charge for emergency sheltering.
• Pets are not allowed at Red Cross shelters, but animal service providers may open pet shelters if homes are evacuated. Service animals are allowed in shelters.

Contact your local animal control office or humane society to find out about pet emergency shelter plans in your community.

Being prepared doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. By doing one thing a month, you can make sure that you and the people who depend on you will be better prepared for whatever happens.

For more information:

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of doing one thing at a time. It makes preparedness less daunting because it can seem overwhelming. The important thing to remember is that it's important to do something. Anything is better than nothing. Naturally, there's not much more important than having shelter in emergencies, so this post is a good prompter.