Preparedness Fundamentals

Shelter in Place

Shelter in Place 1978

During some emergencies, it may be safest to stay at home, rather than evacuate to a family member’s house or an emergency shelter. Sheltering in place can range from staying put in your home during a severe winter storm to pitching a tent in your front yard after an earthquake damages your house.
Planning to Shelter-In-Place

  • Keep enough supplies on hand for your family and pets for at least three days, up to seven days If possible.
  • Be sure to store shelf-stable foods, and one gallon of water per day for each person or pet.
  • NEVER ration water unless told to do so by authorities.
  • Store the items in an easily accessible place, and in quantities that are easy to handle.
  • Keep an extra supply of important items such as medications, baby supplies, pet supplies, special dietary items, etc.
  • Remember to rotate your stored items every six months.
  • Be sure to listen to your radio to stay updated on the emergency. Authorities will inform you about the status of the emergency, and issue any special instructions such as a boil water advisory.
  • Plan to have activities for your children such as coloring books, board games or puzzles.        

Extended Sheltering In Place

Professionals in emergency management recommend that everyone be prepared to shelter in place for longer than three days. Some even recommend storing a month or more of essential supplies. Plan for as long as you realistically can. Winter storms can result in trees and limbs across many roads, heavy snow pack, or major flooding. Many natural disasters could result in a power outage or disruption of other essential service for an extended period.

  • Think about the supplies you have stored and how long they would last.
  • Are there additional supplies you need to store if power or water were out for a month or more?
  • Identify your dependencies on electrical power and water, and decide how long you can realistically shelter in place, or make a plan to work around these dependencies.
  • How will you ensure sanitation in your home?
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about ensuring adequate supplies of your prescription medications.