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Sometimes, the smartest thing a person can do during or immediately after an emergency is to just stay put. Sheltering in place is typically advised by local officials when evacuating (or travel in general) is considered to be less safe than hunkering down and staying at home.
But what does ‘sheltering in place’ mean, exactly? And what steps should you be taking to protect you and your family in an emergency? Find out more below.
Sheltering in place is a protective action that involves seeking shelter in a safe location, such as a building or even in your vehicle in some circumstances. Oftentimes, sheltering in place advisories are issued when the option for evacuation is considered unnecessary or the time for evacuating has already passed.
Sheltering in place advisories are commonly issued for hurricanes, severe winter storms and other natural disasters. However, there are other potential reasons why sheltering in place orders are given: poor air quality, airborne illness, chemical hazards and active shooter situations, to name just a few.
Sheltering in place strategies may vary based on the type of emergency. For instance, how you might hunker down for a Cat 3 hurricane may look slightly different than, say, how you shelter in place during a pandemic.
However, one thing that remains constant is the need for emergency preparedness. With solid planning, preparation and practice, you and your family can potentially reduce the impact of an emergency while sheltering in place.
When the time for evacuation has passed, sheltering in place may be the safest option. However, keep in mind that the best practices for sheltering in place can vary depending on the type of emergency, the specific situation and by city. You may find yourself sheltering for a few hours in a tiny room or spend weeks limiting travel outside your home. By preparing for a wide range of possible situations, you can maximize your safety while sheltering in place.