Public safety shelters and well-stocked emergency structures may provide a degree of comfort in the face of chemical spills, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters, but these safe havens are not always accessible during immediate threats. Civilians must seek shelter in their current locations when shelter-in-place warnings are issued by government agencies – typically when toxic chemicals, radiological material, or other contaminants endanger the public. A shelter-in-place warning, while alarming, should not be cause for panic. Educate your family using the pointers below so that everyone knows when, where, and how to shelter-in-place.
Prepare Your Home and Workplace in Advance
- Choose an interior room in your home, office, or workplace to shelter-in-place during an emergency. If possible, select a room that is connected to a water source and has as few windows as possible.
- Make sure your workplace is prepared with an emergency plan that includes a designated shelter-in-place location and protocol.
- Stock an emergency kit with a flashlight and battery-powered radio, so you can stay tuned to public safety announcements. Include plastic sheeting and duct tape in your kit. These items will help you best seal off entry and exits points. For more on the best items to keep in an emergency kit, use the tips found here: http://www.ussecurityassociates.com/media-center/resources-guides.php
Stay Connected to Stay Safe
Monitor reliable sources for news and notifications:
- Radio alerts, such as Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) messages
- “All-Call” telephone messaging, automated system alerts sent by law enforcement
- Alerts issued by security service providers, especially in your workplace
- Local warning lights, sirens, and horns
- News media and Internet news sources
- Residential route drivers using public address loudspeaker systems
Take Action Where You Are
- Lead everyone into the designated shelter-in-place location as soon as an alert is issued. Bring a battery-powered radio or telephone connected to a landline so that you can receive news and report life-threatening situations in the event of cell phone service failure.
- Turn off all vents, fans, and air conditioning systems that might circulate harmful toxins into the room.
- Lock the doors and windows once everyone is inside the room. Seal all windows and doors to limit exposure to potential chemicals and toxins in the air.
- Contact family members from whom you are separated to ensure that they have entered a suitable temporary shelter. If your child is at school, he or she will be protected by the emergency response plan in that facility.
- Take shelter in your vehicle only if you are unable to get to a building safely. Park your vehicle in a safe location, preferably in the shade if there is danger of overheating. Close your windows and turn off your engine. If there is tape inside your car, seal off your air vents.
- Follow the directions of law enforcement officials and the advice of public safety announcements. Leave your shelter only when told it is safe to do so.
About U.S. Security Associates
U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.