Communicating concisely during a disaster is important. You need to know WHO to call (your out-of area contact), HOW you will contact them (through your employer’s emergency contact team, by cell phone, through the Red Cross...), and WHAT information to tell them.
Phone lines may be down; someone else may need to make the call for you, and existing phone lines may be jammed, so be succinct while communicating important facts. Getting a message out to your emergency contact as soon as possible helps eliminate worry, confusion and wasted efforts on everyone’s part. Once you know that someone else is contacting friends & relatives, you are free to focus on the emergency at hand.
Take time now to think about what is important to say so you don’t waste precious time – what information is vital in this situation?
My daughter is a master at this – she’s always called and said “I’m all right” followed by “I’m home (or wherever she was)” and then the bad news – “We’ve been burglarized” or “I’ve been in a car accident.” I had my most important worries addressed immediately – she was ok, I knew where I could find her, and THEN I learned what the problem was.
Your message in a disaster won’t necessarily follow that order, but the key parts are the same: Your family’s personal status, your problem, and how you can be reached. Depending on the issue, you may need to inform your out-of-area contact what the problem is (we’ve had an earthquake/flood/etc.); your personal information (everyone is fine, but the house is completely flooded), and then contact info – (Don’t contact us, we’ll contact you or if you must contact us, go through Red Cross).
If possible, a quick call to give updates is helpful, but avoid extended calls with non-factual chitchat.
Tip: Practice creating short, accurate, informative status reports for any situation – it’s a great skill to cultivate with or without a disaster.
•Remember to mark/identify your supplies
Label the location of supplies, so you and other people can find them quickly. Put the expiration date (and if needed, the date of storage) on perishable items in your emergency kits. All medicines should be clearly marked with the name of the patient; the condition the medication is used to treat; and any contra-indications or other warnings. Label your supplies now, while you are calm and clear thinking, for use when you may be under stress. Take a few steps now to keep things clear when it counts.
When water is of questionable purity, it is easiest to use bottled water for drinking and cooking if it is available. When it’s not available, it is important to know how to treat contaminated water. In addition to having a bad odor and taste, water from questionable sources may be contaminated by a variety of microorganisms, including, bacteria and parasites that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis. All water of uncertain purity should be treated before use. Use one or a combination of these treatments:
Filter the water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles.
Bring it to a rolling boil for about one full minute. Cool it and pour it back and forth between two clean containers to improve its taste before drinking it.
- Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Stir to mix. Sodium hypochlorite of the concentration of 5.25% to 6% should be the only active ingredient in the bleach. There should not be any added soap or fragrances. A major bleach manufacturer has also added Sodium Hydroxide as an active ingredient, which they state does not pose a health risk for water treatment.
- Let stand 30 minutes.
- If it smells of chlorine. You can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add 16 more drops (1/8 teaspoon) of chlorine bleach per gallon of water, let stand 30 minutes, and smell it again. If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.
Flood water can also be contaminated by toxic chemicals. Do NOT try to treat flood water.
•Preparation Tips for Those With Mental Health and Substance Abuse Problems
ADD TO YOUR KIT
In addition to the list of recommended items to include in a Disaster Supplies Kit, people with mental health and/or substance abuse problems may consider including the following items:
- Include in your emergency disaster kit the name and phone number of your local mental health professional(s), your recovery sponsor and/or other persons you can rely on for support.
- List of key phrases for emergency personnel (e.g. “I have experienced mental health and/or substance abuse problems in the past”)
- Name and phone number of your primary care physician and mental health and/or substance abuse professional care provider
- If you have been prescribed medication for mental health and/or substance abuse, keep a copy of information about where you receive the medication, the name of the drug(s) and dosage.
•Check Your Batteries
In addition to changing the batteries on your smoke alarm on New Year’s Day, check out the batteries you have on hand, making sure you have the right kind and right amount of fresh batteries available for all your emergency equipment – flashlights, radios, beacons, etc. Label their dates: common alkaline batteries have a shelf life of 5-7 years (refrigerating doesn't help much). Over time, alkaline batteries leak. Reduce the chance of leakage by not mixing different battery types in the same device, replacing all batteries at the same time, storing them in a dry place, and removing batteries from devices for storage. For a greener approach, use rechargeables!
•People with Cognitive Impairments
In addition to a list of recommended items to include in a Disaster Supplies Kit, people with cognitive impairments may consider including the following items:
List of key phrases on a card for emergency personnel. Think about what someone who is helping you might need to know about you and be ready to tell them or show them your card.
Your card might say:
• I cannot read.
• I communicate using an assistive communication device. I can point to simple pictures or key words, which you will find in my wallet or emergency supply kit.
• I may have difficulty understanding what you are telling me; please speak slowly and use simple language.
• I forget easily. Please write down information for me.
•Disaster Tips for People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
People who are deaf or hard of hearing may consider including the following items in their disaster kit:
• Extra hearing aids and batteries
• A list of key phrases for emergency personnel (e.g. “I need an interpreter,” “I need announcements written”)
• Battery powered television and extra batteries
• Extra batteries for: visual or sensory alarms, pagers and TTY
• Car charger for pager/communication devices
A disaster can cause significant financial loss. Your apartment or home may be severely damaged or destroyed. You may be forced to live in temporary housing. Income may be cut off or significantly reduced. Important financial records could be destroyed. Take the time now to assess your situation and ask questions.
To help you, consider using the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), a tool developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps or contact your local Red Cross chapter for Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness.
•What if communications are down?
No matter how hi-tech your systems become, there are times when they may not work for you. During emergencies it's important to know how to communicate using low-tech or no-tech alternatives. Share with the people in your circle of influence how you will communicate, even if all modern systems are down. Pre-designated place to leave notes, runners on foot -- even sheets on a flagpole can be used effectively.
•Where will your pet go if you have to evacuate?
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but due to health regulations, most emergency shelters cannot house animals. Find out in advance how to care for your pets and working animals when disaster strikes. Pets should not be left behind, but could be taken to a veterinary office, family member’s home or animal shelter during an emergency. Also be sure to store extra food and water for pets. For more information, visit the Animal Safety section on www.redcross.org or visit the Humane Society Web site at www.hsus.org.
October 26, 2009
•Setting Clocks Backward
Daylight Saving Time (DST) comes to an end this coming weekend, at 2:00 am on Sunday, November 1st. To avoid morning confusion, most people in the United States simply set their clocks BACKWARDS one hour before going to bed on Saturday evening. This is an excellent time to update your preparedness in several simple ways:
- Check that your key phone and email contacts are updated and backed up
- Check the charge in your fire extinguisher
- Check the batteries in your smoke detectors and flashlights
- Check the expiration dates on your food and water. If needed, use or donate them and replenish your supplies.
When you set your clocks BACKWARDS, think to check on those items that are BACK UP resources: what you use when your own resources or first choices aren’t available.
October 19, 2009
•Account Numbers etc.
Information is critical before, during, and after an emergency. Often, all you need is a short account number or password. You shouldn’t depend on your memory – especially in disasters – so be sure you record and store these key bits of data so that they are quickly accessible yet protected from identity theft. One approach is to use a simple code when writing it down or storing it somewhere convenient, like your cell phone. This code can be as simple as adding or subtracting the same amount from each digit and will guard it from someone who casually comes across your information.
Technology becomes fancier, cooler and more widespread every year. But remember that even the best technology can fail!
Make handy paper backups of your most critical information. Do not depend on your memory for any critical information, no matter how familiar it feels now. Record vital information on paper -- even something as basic as a list of often-used phone numbers --so if your cell phone is lost, broken, or unusable, you can still make phone calls.
Digital address books often have an export or printout option. Most cell phone companies offer a data backup service. Look for these opportunities to print out this information – or simply write it down. Digital versions can be edited and re-printed regularly. Store a paper back up in multiple places such as your work, your car, or off-site storage.
•Programmed for Safety: The Cell Solution
Cell phones are wonderful tools for simple, accessible emergency preparedness. Among the most useful ways to embrace cell phone preparedness is to dedicate a few minutes at meetings and gatherings to entering information. Some information to program:
• Non-emergency numbers for police and fire
• "ICE" (the designated person to call “In Case of Emergency”)
• Medicines, medical conditions, and medical practitioners
• Emergency phone numbers for family members
• “Rally Points” -- where you will reconvene after an emergency
Even if the reception and signal fail, the stored information remains available and older-model, basic cell phones can still hold text data – if nothing else, enter it in the address book under “name”, “email”, etc.
Bonus: BlackBerries, iPhones and other smart phones can store entire documents and useful emergency applications!
•Partnering with Service Providers / Caregivers
Keeping children and young people safe before, during and after an emergency requires the partnership of many: schools, after-school programs, and any provider of services to kids. Help this partnership work well by sharing your preferred emergency protocols with all people who care for your children. Kids can be trained and supported so that they feel confident and well-informed about the right thing to do. As a parent, care provider or other trusted adult, talk to the others about basic information to share with the child, such as: knowing the proper adults to contact, who to ask for help, and having a back-up place to go if their primary place is unavailable due to emergency. Remember: avoid giving conflicting information; remove fear and disaster images; and be sure the information is age and culturally appropriate.
With school back in session, there are lots of small ways to increase the safety of children. For example - adults can take advantage when the school, police, community group or other trusted provider offers free fingerprinting for kids. It is an extra precaution that does not have to be scary - remember that protecting your children is an act of love, not fear!
Keep extra sets at your home and work to ensure you have proper fingerprint identification at your disposal. There are several inexpensive and simple-to-use kits also available to record fingerprints of all family members. Each set should be paired with a photo of the person they belong to and stored in a waterproof container (perhaps a simple ziptop bag) to protect against dirt and moisture. Replace the photo regularly as the child grows to keep records current.
•Age-Appropriate H1N1 Behaviors
Teach kids before flu season what they can do to keep themselves and others safe. Use games, songs and other tools to teach basic skills like proper hand washing:
- use warm soap and water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds
- remember between the fingers and on the backs of the hands
- dry hands completely and throw the paper towel in the trash (after using it to open the door)
Kids can also learn how to sneeze correctly: into tissues, of course, or into their elbows or even down their shirts - this is better than sneezing into the air or into their hands and then touching things. Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer afterward.
Take the fear and threat out of flu exposure and help kids learn positive, empowering and sharable skills.
•Kids -- Trusted Adults
"Stranger Danger" is a familiar phrase, reflecting a desire to keep children away from dangerous people. The phrase overlooks the important fact that dangers often come from familiar people. Also -- as a strictly negative mantra -- it doesn't reinforce the right things to do. If you have children, care for them, or work with people who do, you can help ensure that kids are prepared to call or find their truly trusted adults. This means being able to recognize them and knowing their phone numbers and addresses. Help children to know the public places -- police departments, fire stations, hospitals, etc. -- where children and young people can be helped and protected if a known trusted adult is not available. Children's cell phones should be fully programmed with a wide variety of safety-related resources and many trusted adults.
•Emotional Preparedness Kits
Part of keeping yourself or others healthy, safe and well in emergencies, disasters and stressful situations is taking care of emotional well-being. Consider the small things you can keep with you, or put in a kit, that will help you stay emotionally calm, positive and best able to handle stressful situations.
Possible items to boost emotional preparedness: photos of loved ones and pets; inspirational quotes, writings or prayers; physically comforting items such as small stuffed animals, tee-shirts or family heirlooms; scented oils or perfumes; religious objects; or song lyrics and music. Any small item with personal emotional significance -- whether a gemstone, a lucky charm of sorts, or simply a written reminder of your beliefs, values and commitments -- can provide great emotional comfort.
Add emotional preparedness kits to your repertoire of suggested actions for your friends, family and staff.
•Kits For Other People
We all have loved ones -- friends, family members, clients we serve -- for whom preparedness is not a reality. When it's simply an inability to assemble the supplies, you can help. Start with the items that are free and unique to each person: personal contact information, medical needs, and personal preferences. Move up toward helping people to have this information on them in some way. For anyone unable to be fully responsible for their own preparedness, help build a circle of informed and prepared care-providers around them.
Start small, remember to think sustainable, not just attainable, and remember: helping the people we love to be prepared, is one of the most loving things you can do, and you are building your own capacity to remain calm and focused in an emergency.
In every disaster, some people will evacuate with their pets, stay behind because of livestock or animals, or risk their lives and disobey orders to go back for animals. Animals are clearly linked with human safety, wellness and well-being. See how many of the items below you can pull together for yourself or an animal lover in your life.
Kit contents: food, water, feeding dish, medications, leash or restraint, toy, medical info, date/ place where animal was micro chipped, pictures of pet with owners, description of animal with identifying marks, carrying/transport case, list of animal caregivers, and a map to where animals can be taken in an emergency.
Make sure neighbors and friends know what to do in an emergency for your pets. Consider posting animal rescue signs on your door.
A SKIP (Safety Kept In Place) Kit is much smaller than a Go-Kit. It's just a few simple items in a ziptop bag, stashed wherever you spend time. Under your desk (where you would Drop, Cover and Hold On); in a glove compartment; in the couch cushions; or in a purse/backpack, etc. Customize and make your SKIP Kit your own. Any small item that that will help you stay safe, calm and comfortable in those first moments after something happens can go in your SKIP Kit. Some ideas:
- mylar blanket
- hand sanitizer
- water pouch & medicine
- paper & pen - for reminders, information or inspiration
Wherever you are, have a little safety kept in place!
•Go Kit - Does Yours Work for You?
Packing an emergency Go Kit with basic preparedness supplies is good advice. But while lists of contents are easy to find, details about the kit itself are often overlooked.
To be practical and usable in an emergency, a Go Kit should be the right size, weight and design for the person who will use it. Some of the best Go Kits are lightweight and flexible.
For example: a backpack with roller wheels can be pulled or worn, and a tote bag with long handles can be carried, worn like a backpack, or tied to a wheelchair. For people with limited strength, mobility or ability, emergency supplies can be divided into several smaller kits or stashed in the pockets of a safari-type vest or jacket.
•Drop-Cover-Hold On While Outdoors
The best way to respond to the shaking caused by earthquakes is to Drop, Cover and Hold On. But there are many situations that require some adjustment to this basic guidance. For example: what do you do outdoors? The goal is still to avoid injury from flying objects or from falling down. Do not run toward buildings, since a building's immediate outside often has many hazards. It is best to drop down and take cover under a bench or table or other sturdy object if possible. If there is nothing around, simply drop safely to the ground, and remember to protect your head and neck.
•Good Ol' Tape
You can use simple tape in many ways: first aid; making repairs; posting notices; low-budget laminate for key information, etc. Keep some tape - cellophane tape, masking tape, duct tape or all of the above - as part of your preparedness supplies, so you won't be stuck when you need it!
•You can handle anything if you're well fed
In England and Ireland, potatoes became a beloved and familiar food because they are so useful. Like the combination of beans with rice, they are nutritious, low-cost, easy to store, and easy to cook. For your long-term preparedness, look for similar supplies that make it easy to keep yourself, your family and your community healthy and well-fed. Stock up on simple, staple foods. Any emergency will be easier to handle if you know your basic needs are already addressed.
•Prevent a Summer Emergency
With temperatures rising across the country, it’s a good time to remember what you CAN DO to keep yourself, and the people you love, happy and healthy during high heat.
- Stay hydrated. Carry drinking water with you, and have a spray bottle with water to use for a quick refreshing spritz.
- Carry portable shade. Wide-brimmed hats, umbrellas, parasols, or even a sun tent in the trunk of your car could make the difference on a hot day.
- Dress right for the heat. Light-weight, natural fabrics and loose cuts tend to keep people feeling cooler.
- Check the temperature for your destination location. Temperature can vary by dozens of degrees in a short distance or in a short time. Pack accordingly.
Prepare for the heat, and you’ll be better prepared to have a great time!
•One Person's Experience
I can't stress how important it is to remember the correct procedures and precautions during an earthquake.
I worked at the top of a brick building next door to the Cadillac Hotel in Pioneer Square during the Nisqually Earthquake. Every single person in my office did something wrong despite the fact that we had learned the correct procedures. We were completely unprepared for the shock of the situation. Most of us got under our desks but we kept peeking out to see what others were doing and not covering ourselves. I even answered a phone call at my desk! Others made cell calls from under their desks. My desk split because of the shaking, TV's and other heavy objects fell, my co-worker's desk broke on top of her because her bookcases were not bolted and crashed down on her (luckily she was okay), and several people ran from the building while it was still shaking. Instead of using the fire escape stairwell, we all used the internal stairs and exited the building under a glass and brick atrium. Later, we found out the fire escape stairwell was locked anyway. Before the shaking stopped, all but one of my co-workers fled the building and I attempted to do the same despite my better judgement (group mentality) and end up being knocked down by flying debris. My co-workers literally jumped over my body while they exited and NEVER even saw me. Luckily, one co-worker stayed calm and had the smarts to check every office to make sure everyone was out and then carried me out of the building. I ended up in the ER but luckily with only a scratch and a sprained ankle.
I wanted to share this story to remind everyone that you're often in shock during an emergency and do crazy things despite what you've learned. Above anything else, try to remain calm and think first, act second.
For people living in small spaces, one concern is the lack of space for storing disaster supplies. Emergency supplies – extra whistles, flashlights, water pouches, printed material, etc. – can often fit in oddly shaped or dead spaces. Spend five minutes looking for spaces that can hold emergency supplies, or where other things can be stored to free up space for safety gear. Some found spaces:
- inside suitcases/roller-bags.
- inside shoes and boots that sit in a closet.
- wheel-wells where spare car tire is stored.
- behind desks or furniture not flush against a wall.
Use these oddly shaped, awkward or dead spaces to store things that you won’t need to quickly grab and go. Save prime real estate for kits that can be accessed immediately!
On September 2nd 1969, the first Automatic Teller Machine (or ATM) in America was installed in New York City. The rapid proliferation of ATMs -- and the creation of online banking and various debit and credit cards -- has changed the behavior of millions of consumers: some people no longer carry cash. But access to cash or financial resources empowers you to make better decisions in an emergency. Stash even a small amount of cash -- perhaps hidden in a shoe, a belt, jewelry or elsewhere. In an emergency, ATMs may be offline or simply tapped out.
June 10, 2009
•Practice, Practice, Practice!
Few things will benefit you more than to practice, practice, practice key preparedness and response actions. Some simple things to practice could be: finding utility shutoffs, evacuating your building, sheltering in place, sending a simple (email?) message to your stakeholders (and asking them to confirm receipt), or properly lifting a person out of wheelchair. Encourage and help your community members to practice simple skills so they will perform at their best during a real emergency.
•Include in your vacation planning
Before traveling, give a trusted person your full itinerary and contact info. Carry multiple forms of identification with you, and stash a photocopy separately. Program cell phones with personal emergency numbers and your medicines and medical conditions - even if you have no reception, it's still a good electronic storage system. Pack smaller items in ziptop bags - they provide protection from dirt and moisture can be used in hundreds of ways. Remember to carry your keychain whistle and flashlight so you can leave a little stress behind.
•Functioning Without Electricity
Functioning without batteries and electricity may become necessary in a crisis. When assembling an emergency Go-Kit, include some wind-up choices: radios, flashlights, lanterns, clocks, signals, and cell phone chargers (or perhaps combinations of the above). These items are readily available, especially in camping supply stores, and often cost under $20. Choosing essential items with hand cranks can reduce costs, may be lighter to carry, and is a "green" way to use fewer batteries.
•The Sound of Music (1965)
The Sound of Music tells the story of an Austrian family -- with seven singing children -- in the days before the Holocaust. It’s a Couch Potato Preparedness classic for its sustainability and the sheer number of preparedness lessons.
– Maria is resourceful, making new clothes out of curtains.
– Captain von Trapp demonstrates using whistles as communication tools.
– He stays aware and informed of the situation, to make good decisions.
– To escape, they make a plan, share it, and adapt it as things change.
– The adults protect the children and the children help each other.
– In crisis, the family finds sanctuary and help from old friends.
– Of course: “My Favorite Things” is about thinking positively when bad things happen!
Use this family favorite to recognize diverse preparedness skills and actions.
•Planning a trip?
From the end of June to the beginning of September, many of us travel: near and far; in-state and out. While enjoying this chance to catch up with family or friends, take an easy step and speak to them about being each other's Out-of-Area contact person in case of a crisis. In an emergency, phone calls may be hard to make. You would only have to place one call if you had a contact outside the affected area - who would then pass on information about you to concerned family and friends. Carry that contact information with you, and inform everyone of your arrangement. Remember: keep things in the spirit of your summer vacation, and focus on the positive conversation of how we can help each other stay safe.
•Think Like a Prisoner!
The former Federal Prison on Alcatraz Island opened on August 11th, 1934. This San Francisco Bay landmark remains in the popular imagination in part because of the many escapes attempted. Prisoners devised inventive schemes and created tools, including a drill made from a vacuum cleaner, spoons used to dig through concrete, grease rubbed over the body for insulation against the water -- and stories abound about rafts made from raincoats, tires or life jackets. Escaping from prison isn’t a good idea, but replicating that kind of resourcefulness is. For example, in a disaster, a simple inexpensive ziptop bag can be used as a cup, bandage, glove, document protector, or an emergency bathroom (although this should be its final use!). Think about everyday things and how they can be repurposed in an emergency.
•A necessity in my emergency preparedness kit is comfortable clothes
Pack an older pair of jeans (durable, warm, have handy pockets & belt loops), warm socks and comfortable sneakers, as well as an old sweater or rain poncho in your "go bag". No emergency can be properly faced if you're cold, with bare legs, freezing arms and wearing high heels! You may have other "comfort" clothes that make sense to you, but give a moment to think about what makes you feel more prepared to face the world.
April 20, 2009
•April is Disaster Preparedness Month. What can you do NOW to become more prepared?
Disaster kits are critical for disaster preparedness. Depending on the level of the disaster, and the effectiveness of individual preparedness efforts, a kit can literally make the difference between life and death. In more minor events, a well-prepared kit will at least affect the individual's comfort in waiting for "normal" to be restored.
While people often think of establishing a kit from scratch, it is helpful to remember that many things may already be found in the home. Begin identifying and assembling those items in the home that would be useful during a disaster.
A disaster kit should include items that range from foods, to adequate water supplies, to clothing and first aid kits. Some checklists to get you going can be found at the Seattle Emergency Management web site.
April 13, 2009
•Be prepared for emergencies!
Emergency and disaster preparedness is an ongoing process. Check the InWeb weekly for tips on becoming better prepared for emergencies - large and small.
Tip 1: Take a few steps to outfit your vehicle in case of emergency. Keep vehicles well maintained and gas tanks at least half full. Store a small kit containing items like a flashlight, marker and bandana inside the car. Also, have a larger kit that includes water, comfortable shoes and warm clothes in the trunk. These simple actions can help ensure smooth traveling - even in times of crisis.
Evacuation & Sheltering
Escape Plan In a fire or other emergency you may need to evacuate on a moment’s notice. Be ready to get out fast.
Develop an escape by drawing a floor plan of your residence. Show the location of doors, windows, stairways, large furniture and Three-day Emergency Kit, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits and utility shut-off points.
Indicate at least two escape routes from each room, and mark a place outside of the home where household members. If you or someone in your household uses a wheelchair, make more than one exit from your home wheelchair accessible in case the primary exit is blocked in a disaster.
Include important points outside such as garages, patios, stairways, elevators, driveways and porches. If your home has more than two floors, use an additional sheet of paper. Practice emergency evacuation drills at lease once a year.
Effects of Relocations and Evacuations
An extensive evacuation can have considerable impact on the surrounding area, including:
• Potential gridlock as roads clog with evacuees in addition to local traffic,
• Overcrowding of hospitals and shelters, and
• Inadequate local utility systems (water, sewer, electricity, etc.) as the use of these utilities may increase.
You should be aware that a mass evacuation could strain the ability of local resources; therefore, you should be as self-reliant as possible in your planning and emergency response preparations.
Shelters and Sheltering-in-Place In an emergency, local officials often advise individuals to either: Seek an established shelter or "Shelter in Place."
Usually, people are advised to seek an established shelter when that area is at risk of a specific and immediate danger such as flood, landslide or a chemical spill. Shelters are organized and staffed by trained emergency response workers and the American Red Cross, usually a combination of professionals and volunteers, to support the physical needs of the people who must evacuate their homes. It is extremely important that you evacuate to a shelter when advised to do so by your local emergency authority.
In many circumstances, individuals in areas not directly at risk will be asked to Shelter-in-Place, usually at home, school or work. This option is also used when the outside environment is too dangerous for safe travel.
When is it Time to Relocate or Evacuate? There are many reasons why Sheltering in Place should be the first option during emergencies. A community is safer if as few people as possible are traveling during an emergency.
You should be prepared to leave your home or office and seek public shelter if:
• You are told by your local police, sheriff’s office or fire department to evacuate. Listen to your radio or watch TV for evacuation announcements.
• Your home or office shelter becomes unsafe due to changing conditions – like rising flood waters or fire. If possible, leave as soon as the problem becomes apparent and before a crisis.
• Your medical condition – or that of a family member – changes such that medical assistance is required or you run out of necessary life saving medications.
Plan Ahead As part of your emergency planning and preparation you should:
• Choose several evacuation destinations, depending upon the type of need.
• Call your local Red Cross, emergency management office, police, sheriff’s office or fire department for the location of your nearest public shelter. If you have pets, ask authorities whether you should bring.
• Know the routes to several local hospitals.
• Keep at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle at all times.
If you must evacuate, remember to take:
• Battery powered radio
• Waterproof outer wear and footwear
• Extra clothing
• Essential medicines and toiletries
• Emergency supplies
• Personal documents and family identification