What Does Shelter in Place Mean?

Sheltering in place is one of several response options available to emergency management directors to provide an additional level of protection in the event of an emergency. Shelter in place is a protective action designed to use an indoor facility, such as your own home or a public building, and its indoor atmosphere to shield people from a hazardous outdoor environment. Sheltering in place means persons will remain in a building until emergency management officials issue additional instructions or declare that the emergency condition has ended. It is a short-term option for limiting the potential exposure of persons to hazards that may be present in the outdoor environment. It will most likely be a matter of hours, not days.

It is recommended to have three days of supplies on hand. This includes:

  • 1 gallon of water per person per day
  • Food and manual can opener
  • Week's supply of prescription medication
  • Battery-powered radio, with extra batteries
  • Extra batteries for hearing aids or other assistive devices
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • List of contacts (e.g. family members, friends, doctors)
  • First aid supplies

Any items you normally use that you would need for three days should an emergency occur should also be included. If you have a pet, you will need three days supply of food and water for each pet. Should you have to evacuate, these supplies should go with you. More extensive lists and information can be found on websites dealing with preparedness - view the ready website.

It is also a very good idea to have a "go bag" ready in case you have to evacuate either your home or workplace. This small bag could include those personal items you would need if you had to leave without any notice as well as copies of financial records, pet's veterinarian records, extra keys for house and car, cash, spare glasses or other special needs items, such as medications, batteries for assistive devices and copies of family documents.

For sheltering longer than three days, or if you have to evacuate, you may also want to include blankets and bedding, garbage bags, extra sets of clothes, pet carrier, litter, bags, water for pets, and personal hygiene items with the go bag items.