Shelter in Place During a Disaster

How to Shelter in Place

Sometimes when bad things happen in our community, it is best to stay at your home rather than come to a shelter. If Emergency Officials say, "Stay at home or shelter in place", here are the things you need to know:

  1. Learn the location of the fire department closest to you. View a list of fire departments.
  2. You need to know where your family members are and that they are safe. Make a plan for getting word to each other in the event you are separated during a disaster.
  3. Make sure you and your children know how to escape from your home if needed and where to meet outside so everyone is accounted for.
  4. If everything is okay with your family, check on neighbors and share resources.
  5. Learn how to shut off the power and gas to your home in case that becomes necessary.
  6. A portable or cordless phone will not work if the power is off even if phone lines are working.   Have one phone in your house that is not a portable.

Things You Need

  1. Water - You need clean safe water to drink. Store 1 gallon per day for each person in your home for drinking and cooking. Experts say it is best to plan for three days. You can buy bottled water from the grocery store or bottle it yourself. If you bottle it yourself, choose a clean washed container like a soda bottle. Add four drops bleach (sodium hypochlorite) per quart of water. Don’t use the scented bleaches. You may also need water to flush the toilet if your home has a well with an electric pump. If you have any warning time before the power goes off, run your bathtub and your washing machine full of water for flushing the toilet. To flush the toilet when the power is off, just remove the tank lid and fill the tank with water. Now flush and the tank will empty as the water goes out of the bowel. Fill the tank back up for the next trip. 
  2. Food - You will need food that will not spoil or go bad if it is not kept cold. Have several days worth of canned foods on hand that could be eaten without heating if need be. Keep some foods that will keep for several days without heat or cold. Have on hand foods like peanut butter, crackers, fruit, vegetables, bread, and cereal. Food in your refrigerator and freezer will keep for a while depending on many factors. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Remember that you can cook on an outdoor grill if the weather is safe but you must do it outdoors.
  3. Shelter - Staying dry and warm is most important in the case of winter storms. If your home has a safe fireplace, you have a good source of warmth for your family. Keep a stack of dry firewood in preparation for storm-related power failure. Gas logs will also work without power. Keep warm by dressing in layers. Wrap up in blankets for sleeping or sitting still. If you get wet, get dry as soon as possible. Make sure that your feet and hands stay warm and dry and check the hands and feet of children and older folks.
  4. Transportation - In case of emergency, you need to be able to get to help, or get a message to help so that they can get you. If it is safe to drive your car, help is available at your community fire department. A Deputy Sheriff will be stationed at fire departments when communications lines are down. If you have to walk to help, remember to take care of yourself so you don’t become the victim instead of the rescuer. Dress in layers, take water and food, and take the safest route even if it may take longer. 
  5. Radio - Most radio stations will broadcast even if your home power is off. Keep a battery-powered radio in your house with fresh batteries.

Other Things You Will Need

  • Blankets
  • Candles, Oil Lamps, Matches or a Lighter
  • Extra Batteries
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Flashlights
  • Hand-operated Can Opener
  • Sanitary Hand Wipes
  • Wind-up or battery Powered Clock