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Plan & Prepare

Protective Actions: Sheltering-In-Place at Home

Before it is time to Shelter - in - Place?

  • Identify a safe room in your home.
    • It should be an interior room that is without windows and is above ground level.
    • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone, rather than a cordless or cell phone.
    • A word about BASEMENTS:
      • You should AVOID the basement if the emergency is NOT a tornado! If the emergency is some other typr of severe weather event, your basement may become flooded. If the emergency is a chemical release - especially a release of chlorine or other gases that are heavier than air - these chemicals may seep into your basement even if the windows are closed.
      • However, basements are an ideal place to shelter IF the emergency is a tornado. In that case, the immediate threat is wind that may be strong enough to severely damage rooms that are above ground level.
  • Make sure you can access the items in your Emergency Kit and a copy of your Emergency Action Plan.

Before it is time to Shelter - in - Place?

  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
    • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds or curtains.
    • Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems
    • Close the fireplace damper.
  • In case the power goes out:
    • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings; open them only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
    • Turn off major appliances to reduce the power surge when electricity is restored.
    • Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
    • Remember to listen to your battery-powered-radio!
  • Avoid elevators.
  • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, sinks, jugs, bottles and cooking utensils.
    • TIP: First sterilize bathtubs and sinks with bleach, then flush with water to remove bleach.
  • Check the items in your Emergency Kit and review your Emergency Action Plan.
  • Keep your pets with you, and be sure to bring additional food and water supplies for them.
  • Go to the safe room you have chosen.
    Remember:
    • It should be an interior room that is without windows and is above ground level.
    • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone, rather than a cordless or cell phone.
    • TIP: Unless the threat is a tornado, AVOID the basement. This important during severe weather events, when your basement may become flooded. It is also important during chemical emergencies. Some chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed.
  • Call the friend or family member you have identified as your family's Emergency Contact.
    • Keep the phone available in case you need to report a life-threatening condition.
  • Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or until you are told to Evacuate or take other Protective Actions.
    • Depending on the emergency, local officials may call for Evacuation or Health-Related Actions in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.
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New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
P. O. Box 7068
Trenton, NJ 08628

 

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