Sheltering!

It is very important to designate an area as a storm shelter in your house.  When designating your family storm shelter, consider the following information provided by www.ready.gov:

If you are in: Then:
A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
  • Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • If available, put on a bicycle or motorcycle helmet to protect yourself from head injuries.
  • Put on sturdy shoes.
  • Do not open windows.
A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
The outside with no shelter
  • Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

Reference: www.ready.gov/tornadoes.  Accessed on February 24, 2012.

During some disasters or emergencies you may need to shelter-in-place. This means that you will need to be able to safely stay in your home. The Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention recommend the following actions for sheltering-in-place:

The appropriate steps depend on the emergency situation. If you hear a warning signal, listen to local radio or television stations for further information. You will be told what to do, including where to find the nearest shelter if you are away from your "shelter-in-place" location.

If you are told to "shelter-in-place," act quickly. Follow the instructions of local authorities. In general:

  1. Bring children and pets indoors immediately. If your children are at school, do not try to bring them home unless told to. The school will shelter them.
  2. Close and lock all outside doors and windows. Locking may provide a tighter seal.
  3. If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
  4. Turn off the heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system. Turn off all fans, including bathroom fans operated by the light switch.
  5. Close the fireplace or woodstove damper. Become familiar with proper operation of flues and dampers ahead of time.
  6. Get your disaster supplies kit, and make sure the radio is working.

The room should have 10 square feet of floor space per person in order to provide sufficient air to prevent carbon dioxide buildup for 5 hours. In this room, you should store scissors, plastic sheeting pre-cut to fit over any windows or vents and rolls of duct tape to secure the plastic. Access to a water supply is desirable, as is a working hard-wired telephone. Don't rely on cell phones because cellular telephone circuits may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency. Also, a power failure will render most cordless phones inoperable.

  1. Take everyone, including pets, into an interior room with no or few windows and shut the door.
  2. If you have pets, prepare a place for them to relieve themselves where you are taking shelter. Pets should not go outside during a chemical or radiation emergency because it is harmful to them and they may track contaminants into your shelter. The Humane Society of the United States suggests that you have plenty of plastic bags and newspapers, as well as containers and cleaning supplies, to help deal with pet waste.
  3. If you are instructed to seal the room, use duct tape and plastic sheeting, such as heavy-duty plastic garbage bags, to seal all cracks around the door into the room. Tape plastic over any windows. Tape over any vents and seal electrical outlets and other openings. As much as possible, reduce the flow of air into the room.

Make sure all family members know what to do in an emergency whether they are at home, school, work, or outdoors. This includes knowing the number of an out-of-town friend or relative who has agreed to serve as an emergency contact. It can be easier to reach someone out of town during an emergency than to reach someone locally, including family members. The contact can collect the information on where and how everybody is and help reassure and reunite families.

  1. Call your emergency contact and keep the phone handy in case you need to report a life-threatening condition. Otherwise stay off the phone, so that the lines will be available for use by emergency responders.
  2. Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Do not evacuate unless instructed to do so.
  3. When you are told that the emergency is over, open windows and doors, turn on ventilation systems, and go outside until the building's air has been exchanged with the now clean outdoor air. Follow any special instructions given by emergency authorities to avoid chemical or radiological contaminants outdoors.

Reference: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/shelter.  Accessed on February 28, 2012.  http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/shelter/home.  Accessed on February 28, 2012.

Helpful Links:

Challenge!

Each time you go to the store this month, purchase an item to create a Shelter-In-Place Kit with all of the items you need for you and your family to shelter-in-place.  Complete your Shelter-In-Place Kit and post "I'm Prepared" to our Facebook page (Kansas Division of Emergency Management) to be entered into a prize drawing!


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