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From Orange Community Emergency Response Team (CERT): Learn To Prepare For Emergencies!

(Part 2 of 2)

Create A Plan To Shelter In-Place

There are circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as sheltering-in-place and sealing the room can be a matter of survival.  If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you want to shelter-in-place and seal the room.  Consider precutting plastic sheeting to seal windows, doors, and air vents.  Each piece should be several inches larger than the space you want to cover so that you can duct tape it flat against the wall.  Label each piece with the “of where it fits”.

Use all available information to assess the situation.  Quickly bring your family and pets inside, lock doors, and close windows, air vents, and fireplace dampers.  Immediately turn off air conditioners, forced air heating systems, exhaust fans, and clothes dryers.  Take your emergency supplies and go into the room you have designated.  Seal all windows and doors.  Understand that sealing the room is a temporary measure to create a barrier between you and contaminated air.  Listen to your emergency radio for instructions.

Create A Plan To Get Away

Plan in advance how you will assemble your family and anticipate where you will go.  Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency.  If you have a car, keep at least a half tank of gas in it at all times.  Become familiar with alternate routes as well as other means of transportation out of your area.  If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to.  Take your emergency supply kit, unless you have reason to believe it is contaminated and lock the door behind you.  Take pets with you if you are told to evacuate, however, if you are going to a public shelter, keep in mind they may not be allowed inside.  (The Orange CT shelter accepts pets.)  If you believe the air is contaminated, drive with your windows and vents closed and keep the air conditioning and heater turned off.  Listen to the radio for instructions.

Know Emergency Plans At School And Work

Think about the places where your family spends time: school, work, and other places your family frequents.  Talk to your children’s schools and your employer about emergency plans.  Find out how the family will communicate with families during an emergency.  If you are an employer, be sure you have an emergency preparedness plan.  Review and practice with your employees.  A community working together during an emergency also makes sense.  Talk to your neighbors about how to work together.

Be Informed About What Might Happen

Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency.  However, there are significant differences among potential terrorist threats, such as biological, chemical, explosive, nuclear and radiological which will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take.  By beginning a process of learning about these specific threats, you are preparing yourself to react in an emergency.  Go to to learn more about potential terrorist threats and other emergencies or call 1-800-be-ready (1-800-237-3239) for a free brochure.

Be prepared to adapt this information to your personal circumstances and make every effort to follow instructions received from authorities on the scene.  With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected.  Get Ready Now!

Get Involved In Preparing Your Community

After preparing yourself and your family for possible emergencies, take the next step and get involved in preparing you community.  Join Citizen Corps or your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) which actively involves citizens in making our communities and our nation safer, stronger, and better prepared.  We all have a role to play in keeping our hometowns secure from emergencies of all kinds.  Citizen Corps and CERT works hard to help people prepare, train, and volunteer in their communities.  Go to for more information and how to get involved.

Recommended Supplies To Include In A Basic Kit:

  • Water – One gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation;
  • Food – At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food;
  • Battery Operated Radio and extra batteries;
  • Flashlight and extra batteries;
  • First Aid Kit;
  • Whistle to signal for help;
  • Filter Mask or cotton T-shirt to help filter the air;
  • Moist Towelettes for sanitation;
  • Wrench or Pliers to turn off utilities;
  • Manual Can Opener to open canned food;
  • Plastic Sheeting and Duct Tape to shelter-in-place;
  • Garbage Bags and Plastic Ties for personal sanitation; and
  • Unique Family Needs such as daily prescription medications, infant formula or diapers, and important family papers.

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