Do 1 Thing March: Sheltering | | Blogs

By Cate Shockey

This blog is part of a

series, covering a preparedness topic each month from the Do 1 Thing Program.  Join us this month as we tackle “sheltering.”series, covering a preparedness topic each month from the Do 1 Thing Program.  Join us this month as we tackle “sheltering.”

When I was a kid, sheltering immediately conjured terrifying images of Dorothy Gale missing her chance to take shelter in the cellar and being swept away by a tornado and serenaded by munchkins.  In reality, growing up in the Midwest included frequent basement sheltering for tornado warnings and cowering in the hallways at school with a hardback textbook over my head.

Earthquake drillThis month, as we embark on “sheltering” for Do 1 Thing, it’s important to first know your risks.

From floods to hurricanes, tornadoes to wildfires, severe weather impacts everyone differently.  What threats impact your area?  For me, in Atlanta, the biggest threats are tornadoes, fires, and the potential for flooding.   

In a disaster, you may have to evacuate to a shelter or shelter-in-place.  To shelter-in-place means taking immediate shelter where you are – at home, work, school, or on the go.  To make your immediate location safe, go to a room with as few doors and windows as possible. Take a battery-powered radio or Sean and Mia shelter in placeyour cell phone with you so you know when the danger has passed and follow emergency instructions carefully.  

With tornadoes a continual threat in Clarksville, Tennessee, my pal Amanda took the opportunity to make sure her kids knew where to go in their house if a tornado warning was in effect or a siren went off.  With windows in every room of the house and no basement, the best option for the family was to hunker down in the hallway.  Armed with sleeping bags, a radio, and something to do, Sean and Mia were ready to wait out a storm.  Everyone has a different sheltering location.  Identify yours and make sure your entire family knows where to go and what to do.

As participants in the Great Central U.S. Shakeout last month, my mom’s 2nd graders in Tennessee practiced an earthquake drill. Mom said her students actually asked to do it again.  And again.  She happily obliged.  The more practice the kids have with the plan, the more comfortable they will be if an earthquake actually happens.

PHPR's earthquake drillMy coworkers also got into the act this month.  We practiced drop, cover and hold on in an earthquake drill and found our nearest shelter-in-place in the office in the event of severe weather.

Remember, sheltering also includes evacuation and where you can find shelter if you need to leave your home. Check out FEMA’s Ready.gov for more information on evacuating yourself and your family.

Here are some sheltering steps you can do this month:

  • Identify the best storm shelter in your home.
  • Practice sheltering drills with your family so you know where to go and how to shelter in place.
  • Learn about your community’s warning signals – such as sirens or messages from the Emergency Alert System on your TV or radio.
  • Make an Emergency Go Bag to take with you.
  • Call your emergency contact and keep the phone handy.

See Do 1 Thing’s Sheltering checklist for more tips and information, and start putting your plans in place for unexpected events.   Are YOU ready to take shelter?