September is National Preparedness MonthWe’ve been hearing a lot lately about Hurricane Isaac and how the southern states need to prepare their homes for the storms heading their way.
By: Susan Johnson, The Republican Eagle
We’ve been hearing a lot lately about Hurricane Isaac and how the southern states need to prepare their homes for the storms heading their way.
It is a fact that the more prepared one is, the more one is able to respond to an emergency — whether it is a hurricane, an ice storm or an evacuation notification.
Because Goodhue County has a nuclear power plant in its borders, we have to make our family plans to include the possibility of a nuclear emergency.
Evacuating from our homes is one of the responses that could take place if there was a potential threat to us. What would we grab to take with us? Do we know where we are to go? Does our family know where we would be? How would we communicate with them?
These are many of the questions that each of us should be discussing and figuring out in Goodhue County. Even if you live on the other side of the county, you might want to consider figuring out these questions for your home.
The one preparedness area that we don’t hear or know enough about is sheltering-in-place. If you were told to shelter-in-place would you know what to do?
If officials felt that it was not feasible to evacuate out of the nuclear zone affected by a radiological release, they would be notifying you to stay home and shelter-in-place. The same could be if a chemical spill happened in your town. You might be asked to stay home and not go out. Knowing what to do and being prepared will help lower your anxiety and to take action.
For sheltering-in-place, act quickly and stay calm. Lock your doors and windows to seal yourself from the outdoor elements. Go into an interior room with few or no windows on the highest level unless you are instructed otherwise.
Have access to a radio or television so you can keep informed. Bring food, snacks, water, flashlights, phone (preferably a land line), and keep your pets inside the house.
Instructions to shelter-in-place are usually provided for durations of a few hours, not days or weeks.
Local officials on the scene are the best source of information for your particular situation. Following their instructions during and after emergencies regarding sheltering, food, water and cleanup methods is your safest choice.
Learning what you can about sheltering-in-place will help you be prepared now and help you in the future.
What it means to shelter-in-place
When sheltering-in-place go indoors and stay inside. Be sure to close all doors and windows, in addition to turning off any ventilating devices that might draw in outside air. Electrical sources can be used for alternative heating.
Just as family members should be inside, pets should be brought indoors as well. Anyone who needs to go outside should limit their time, cover their mouth and nose, and remove their clothing upon coming back indoors if they were exposed to a radioactive release.
Listen to a radio or television for instructions on how to proceed, and do not leave a shelter until told to do so.
If you are driving a vehicle when you hear advice to shelter-in-place, take the following steps:
• Go immediately to your home, your office or a public building and get indoors.
• If those locations are not accessible in a short amount of time, pull over to the side of the road and stop in a safe place.
• Turn off the engine, and close windows and vents.
• Listen to the radio for updated advice and instructions.
• Stay where you are until told it is safe to get back on the road.
Supplies to consider
• Water — one gallon per person per day for three days. Don’t forget to add more for pets.
• First aid kits for family and pets
• Non-perishable food for up to three days
• Cell phone chargers
• Extra batteries
• Battery-powered radio