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The original item was published from 9/20/2021 4:12:40 PM to 10/1/2021 12:00:08 AM.

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Posted on: September 24, 2021

[ARCHIVED] September is National Preparedness Month #24- Consider Your Shelter Options

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September is National Preparedness Month. This month we are sending out regular posts about things you can do in your home to be prepared if an emergency or disaster occurs.

#24- Consider Your Shelter Options

Sheltering is appropriate when conditions require that you seek protection in your home, where you work, or another location when other emergencies arise. The length of time you are required to take shelter may be short, such as during a tornado warning, or longer, such as during a pandemic. In all cases, it is important that you stay informed and follow the instructions of local authorities.

During extended periods of sheltering, you will need to manage water and food supplies to make sure you and your family have what you need to get by. Read more about managing water and managing food.

Choosing to take shelter is necessary for many emergencies. This can mean Stay-At- Home, Going to a Mass Care Shelter, or Sheltering in Place. Here’s the distinction:


  • Remain indoors as much as possible and try to only leave your home when necessary. You can still use outdoor spaces such as patios, porches and yards.
  • Outdoor activities such as walking, jogging, and exercise are fine if you practice social distancing.
  • Essential services such as grocery shopping, the gas station, pharmacies, and going to the Post Office are still fine to do.
  • Limit visitors if possible. Try to use video chatting. Call the people you would normally text.

Mass Care Shelter

Mass care shelters provide life-sustaining services to disaster survivors.  Even though mass care shelters often provide water, food, medicine, and basic sanitary facilities, you should plan to take your emergency supply kit with you so you will have the supplies you need. Mass care sheltering can involve living with many people in a confined space, which can be difficult and unpleasant. 

  • Check with local officials about what shelter spaces are available
  • Be prepared to take cleaning items with you like cloth masks (for anyone ages 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces.
  • Maintain social distancing between you and people who aren’t in your immediate family as is possible.

Learn more by visiting:

Sheltering in Place

Whether you are at home, work or anywhere else you frequent regularly, there may be situations when it's best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside. 

Here are some indicators and steps to take if the situation arises:

  • Use common sense and available information to assess the situation and determine if there is immediate danger.
  • If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated you may want to take this kind of action.

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