When a crisis strikes, it can be difficult to focus on what you are doing. Your first reaction is to get to a safe location. However, you may be safer staying where you are, depending on the type of emergency. This is known as “sheltering in place.” You can make the environment around you as safe as possible because going outside may cause more harm – situations such as tornadoes, snowstorms, and chemical spills.
Here’s how to prepare ahead:
- Pick a location in your home where you and your loved ones, including pets, can comfortably stay for at least 45-minutes.
- Stay away from windows and skylights.
- Put as many walls between yourself and the outside (ceilings count as walls).
- Avoid rooms with large ceiling expanses.
- Practice getting to this location. Do this when you check your emergency kits twice a year during daylight savings time.
- Determine how close you are to highways, railroads, factories, and plants that could have chemical spills.
- Sign-up for weather alerts, through text or email, and get a weather radio.
Sheltering in place during an emergency:
- Get information. Check your TV, weather radio, or cell phone for alerts. Know if you need to evacuate or have a shelter in place before doing anything.
- Close windows and doors, shutting off ventilation. Use plastic sheeting or duct tape during chemical spills.
- Grab your emergency kit.
- Go to your shelter location in your home.
I have unique needs. What should I do?
- Pick a shelter location that you can access. Basements may be the safest choice for most, but choose interior rooms if you cannot climb stairs. Try closets or bathrooms (do not climb into the bathtub unless you can do so without assistance).
- Have an emergency kit near your shelter location.
- Register with local emergency personnel so help can be provided more quickly.
- Keep your emergency contacts up to date. Make sure they can check on you during crisis situations. Consider asking a neighbor to do the same thing.
Shelter in place (staying indoors)
Things to Do:
Plan ahead – Decide on an area of your home where you can shelter. Put as many walls between yourself and the outside, away from windows.
Buy a weather radio or sign-up to receive alerts on your cell phone to get immediate information on emergency situations.
Caregivers – How can you get involved?
Get direction from first responders (police and fire departments) before you travel to your loved one.
Have an emergency contact in place that can physically check on your loved one. Neighbors are good options.
Make sure your loved one’s shelter location can be safely accessed.