Sheltering in Place

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,823
    American Red Cross emergency preparedness expert Dan Paulette-Chapman explains how to find shelter in an emergency.

    Hi, I am Dan Paulette-Chapman with the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area. Today, we are talking about family emergency preparedness and now, it is time to talk about home safety as well as sheltering in place versus evacuation. First thing to keep in mind is that you must always listen to the radio and to Government and to law enforcement about what to do in an emergency. There are instances where the Government will ask you to shelter in place. There are other instances where the Government may ask you to evacuate. You must do the appropriate action according to the appropriate direction. Shelter in place involves getting into your home, securing your home and using your disaster supplies kit in order to keep you and your family safe and healthy until the threat has passed. It is very, very important not to evacuate if a shelter in place order is given. You will not know what it is that is out there that could be dangerous or hazardous to you and your family. Again, always follow direction. Do so by listening to the radio. One of the most important aspects of your home disaster kit is to have a radio that is battery powered or in this case, is powered by a charger. This will save you and your family a lot of worry about what might be going on in the environment. If you are asked to shelter in place, some simple indications are to find an inside room in your house away from windows to try as much as you can to block off the outside air from entering your home that includes turning off any ventilation that maybe going on. It also includes activating and using your family emergency supplies kit. If you have a family member at school or at work and a shelter in place emergency is activated, do not go and try to find them. Do not leave your home or a safe place to try to find them. Ideally, there are plans in place to shelter them at their locations. It could be very dangerous to enter the environment if a shelter in place order is given. Shelter in place is very different from evacuation. If an evacuation order is given, it will be clear. The Government will be asking you to evacuate your homes. They will be indicating approved routes. Always follow planned routes. You can get some of the planned routed by contacting your Government and by contacting the American Red Cross. But, once again, in an emergency, listen to the radio and follow directions because approved routes maybe in the path of danger and they may switch you to another alternate route.

    You may also be in your vehicle at the time a shelter in place order is issued. If you are very near to your home or to a business that you can access, you do want to go there and take shelter inside. If you are not near a home or a business, you will want to drive to the side of the road, turn off all exterior ventilation, covering up wind ports if necessary, but keep your car on to the extent that you can listen to your radio and know when the coast is clear. Next, we are going to talk about building a home disaster supplies kit.