Evacuations are becoming a more frequent occurrence. Hurricanes, forest fires, flooding, and residential fires are some of the reasons people are evacuated from their homes to places of safety. But, when is emergency evacuation not recommended? When is it better to go inside and “shelter-in-place”?
A shelter-in-place scenario usually has no, or very little, preparation time. A recent example was the train derailment in central Florida on November 27, 2017. A spill of molten sulfur prompted officials to warn residents to shelter in place. Luckily this time, sheltering in place lasted only for hours, but in other scenarios it could last for days, or longer.
An example of when you may need to get indoors quickly, and stay there for a number of days, is during a nuclear event. Whether it’s terrorism or a nuclear plant accident, you will need to get inside and stay inside. Once indoors, you’ll need to close all windows, shut down a/c units and any other device that may be drawing in outside air. If you have plastic and duct tape, use it to seal around doors and windows. An emergency, battery powered/hand crank radio is essential to have on hand in order to get direction from local authorities (cell service may not work). Emergency supplies, food and water will also be necessary.
Know where your children and pets are. Know what the plans are for their safety and well-being during an extended period. Understand what measures are in place in your community to make sure you and your family stay safe in the event you may not be able to leave your home for an extended period.
Sheltering in place is a scenario we don’t like to think about but making sure you have the necessary supplies and knowledge to do so is a whole lot better than finding out you don’t when there’s a shelter-in-place order.