A Quick View of Shelter-in-Place Emergencies

General Preparation

  1. Put gas in the car.
  2. Bathe and change clothes.
  3. Run the dishwasher. Catch up on laundry.
  4. Fill tubs and washing machines with water.
  5. Unplug computers, TVs, and other important electrical appliances.
  6. Turn the freezer to the coldest temperature, put in dry ice, and cover it with a blanket.
  7. Eat perishables first. Feed pets.
  8. Listen to the television or radio for instructions from emergency officials.
  9. Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or disabled.

Winter Storms

  1. Layer clothing and wear a hat.
  2. Bring in firewood or arrange for an emergency heat supply.
  3. Shut blinds and drapes. Insulate windows with newspapers and blankets.
  4. Hang sheets in open doorways to block off a room.
  5. Allow for ventilation for heating equipment.
  6. Seal the freezer with duct tape and cover it with a blanket.
  7. Put perishables outside in a lined garbage can.
  8. Obtain emergency water from a water heater or melted snow.
    Turn off electricity or gas to the water heater before draining it.
    Fill the water heater with water before turning electricity or gas back on.
  9. Avoid overexertion that can cause a heart attack.

Thunderstorms with lightning


  1. Stay indoors.
  2. Unplug TVs, computers, and air conditioners or shut off electricity at the main box.
  3. Do not use plug-in electrical equipment that can cause electrocution.
  4. Avoid using running water.


  1. If driving, stay in the car.
  2. Get out of water and off of small boats.
  3. Stay away from tractors, motorcycles, scooters, golf carts, and bicycles.
  4. Stay away from wire fences, clotheslines, metal pipes, rails, or sheds.
  5. Do not stand underneath a tree or project yourself above the surrounding landscape.
  6. Get into a cave, ditch, or canyon, or under head-high clumps of shrubs.
  7. If you feel an electrical charge, drop to your knees with your head between them.


  1. People struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and may be handled safely.
  2. A person “killed” by lightning can often be revived by CPR.
  3. In a group struck by lightning, the apparently dead should be treated first; those who show vital signs will probably revive spontaneously.

Tornados or High Winds


  1. Secure outdoor objects that might fly around.
  2. Close windows, drapes, and shutters.
  3. Listen to the television or radio for instructions from emergency officials.
    Tornado watch—tornadoes are possible.
    Tornado warning—a tornado has been sighted.


  1. Stay away from windows, heavy appliances, and chimneys.
  2. Shelter in a basement, interior hallway, bathroom, or open ditch.
    Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
    Stay out of and away from cars.
    Avoid free-span roofs.
  3. Get under something sturdy.
  4. Protect your head from flying debris.
  5. Listen for the distinctive roar.


  1. Check for injuries.
  2. Look out for broken glass and downed power lines.
  3. Use caution when entering buildings. Have damaged buildings inspected.



  1. Store potassium iodide tablets (28 tablets (130 mg.) per person).
  2. Shelter below ground in buildings of heavy construction.
  3. Move dense material such as dirt or furniture around your shelter.
  4. Turn off the air conditioner, furnace, ventilation fans, and other air intakes.
  5. Know the standard warning signals:
    Attention/alert—steady 3-5 minute blast of sirens
    Attack warning—rising and falling tone


  1. Intense flash of light—DON’T LOOK!
  2. Heat wave—Take cover behind a wall.
  3. Shock wave—Curl up in a ball and cover your head.
  4. Wind—will blow out and then back.
  5. Fallout starts after 30 minutes and lasts for 72 hours to 14 days.
    Shelter underground until local authorities advise leaving.
    If traveling, go upwind.


  1. Wash thoroughly: hair, nose, and contaminated clothing.
  2. Take potassium iodide (two tablets per day for 14 days).
  3. Guard against secondary infection.