In the event of an emergency, the authorities may instruct residents to shelter in place. That means that you should take immediate shelter wherever you are – at home, at work, at school, or at any other location.
Local authorities may issue a shelter in place order in several ways. They can communicate with the public through automated messages (reverse 911), Emergency Alert System broadcasts on TV or the radio, outdoor warning sirens, the news media, NOAA Weather Radio alerts, and messages announced to neighborhoods from vehicles with public address systems. Facilities that handle potentially dangerous materials, such as nuclear power plants, are required to install warning systems, such as sirens and warning lights, to cover a 10-mile radius around the plant.
It is important to listen to TV or the radio to understand exactly what the authorities want you to do. “Shelter in place” may mean that you should seal the room to prevent outside air from coming in. The authorities may issue these instructions if chemical or radiological contaminants are released into the environment.
You can prepare for a shelter in place order by choosing an appropriate location in advance. The best location is one that has as few windows and doors as possible. Try to choose a large room with a water supply, such as a master bedroom with a connected bathroom.
Ask about shelter in place protocols at your workplace, your children’s schools, and nursing homes or other facilities where your family members live. Ask your local officials what your city or town’s policies and procedures are.
Ask when warning systems are tested. Find out if you are able to hear sirens or see warning lights from your home.
Develop an emergency plan for your family and practice it on a regular basis.
Assemble a disaster kit with emergency food and water and other necessary supplies.
Make sure your workplace has a plan to shelter in place. People should be assigned specific duties. Alternates should also have assigned responsibilities.
Check the shelter kit regularly to make sure all necessary supplies are available and flashlights and batteries work.
Learn CPR, first aid, and how to use an automated external defibrillator.