in this section
Families at a Red Cross shelter. Photo from the American
An emergency radio by Grundig.
have one like it
in your supply kit!
on this page:
What do I do?
In an emergency, public safety officials will inform you of what to do. These
announcements will come in the form of television and radio bulletins, so make
sure your emergency supply kit
has a battery-powered radio
in it! The bulletins are likely to advise you to do one of three things:
- Stay put and stay tuned.
- Gather the family and keep your pets close by.
- Stay in your home.
- Keep listening to the radio for further developments.
- Evacuate if you are told to do so.
- Grab your emergency supply kit.
- Gather your family -- anyone who is home (including pets).
- If You Have Time
- Unplug all appliances, turn off all lights, and shut off
the electricity to the house (at the main breaker
box). This prevents damage to
appliances due to power surges.
- Shut off your home's water supply at the main water valve. This
prevents floodwater or sewage from entering your
home through the pipes.
- If there is a flood coming, move furniture and valuables to a higher
- Call someone out of town to tell them where you are going and when
you expect to get there.
- Shut and lock all windows; lock the doors.
- Follow evacuation instructions given by local officials. Sometimes,
they will instruct you to go to a nearby shelter.
- Shelter in Place (usually only in hazardous materials or bioterror incidents):
^ Top of Page ^
What is a shelter?
A shelter is a place people can go in an emergency to find food, get out of the weather, and have a place to sleep. Most emergency shelters are located in familiar buildings, like schools, and are run by the American Red Cross. Trained volunteers make up the staff of a shelter. These volunteers will work with you in a variety of ways:
- Registration, both to keep track of how many people are in the shelter, and also in case someone calls the shelter looking for you!
- Assigning you and your family a living space in the shelter, with cots and
- Serving meals, usually cafeteria-style.
- Letting you know what the shelter rules are.
In addition, the following services may also be available in the shelter:
- Medical care
- Volunteer opportunities. Often, the shelter's staff will have jobs that
need to be done. They might ask you if you'd be willing to
- Financial assistance. If necessary, the Red Cross can help you plan your
recovery and offer help purchasing food, clothing, or other necessities.
If you need to live at a shelter, try to be as flexible and understanding as
you can be. Everyone will be stressed in an emergency, and conflicts may come
up. Try to stay "cool," and if a problem isn't easily resolved, contact the shelter
staff for help.