Friday, October 08, 2010

Sheltering in place: Know when to stay put and what to do

During an emergency or a disaster, officials may advise you and your family to "shelter in place." But if you were given that instruction, would you know what to do?

A recent Q&A and podcast from APHA’s Get Ready campaign has the info you need to safely shelter in place during emergencies.

Darryl J. Madden, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Campaign, spoke to the Get Ready staff and has the inside scoop. According to Madden, sheltering in place means "finding a very safe place to basically be in a stable environment while a particular emergency or event takes place." So it’s a good idea to have a location at home, work and school picked out ahead of time.

You may need to shelter in place for awhile, so Madden recommends you have a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for each person and pet. If you are in a car and near home when the call to shelter in place is made, go home, Madden says. If that’s not an option, go to a public building or a store.

Other great shelter-in-place tips from Madden?
• Always stay informed. Pay attention to alerts from emergency officials and take action as advised.
• Be prepared early. Start assembling your basic emergency supply kit now.
• Find safe place. The best room for sheltering in place would generally be one that has no windows and is in the center of the building.
• Don’t forget to turn off the air handler and associated AC or heating units that use outside air, because they can bring contaminated air inside.

Want to know more? Read the full Q&A with Madden online or listen to the interview as a podcast.

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