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Emergency Preparedness: Sheltering-in-Place


During an emergency, an emergency alert might require the public to shelter-in-place—that is, to take refuge indoors. Sheltering-in-place offers immediate protection for a short time in your home or other building. Under many circumstances, sheltering-in-place is the best way to protect yourself from a hazard and is a safer alternative than evacuation.

Potentially hazardous events that might occur in Miami-Dade County requiring residents to shelter-in-place include:

  • Hurricanes or tornadoes

  • Chemical/hazardous material releases (e.g., industrial accident or act of terrorism)

  • Wildfires

  • Radiation releases (e.g., from a nuclear power plant incident or act of terrorism)

  • Miami-Dade County officials would issue an emergency alert on radio or TV that instructs the public to shelter-in-place. Listen to the radio or TV for updates because changing conditions could alter recommendations. During an emergency, Emergency Alert System messages will announce what protective measures are most appropriate.

Shelter-in-Place General Planning

  • Prepare a family emergency plan. Include plans for sheltering-in-place, evacuation, communicating with your family, and caring for pets.

  • Learn about warning sirens where you live. If you live within the Emergency Planning Zone of a nuclear power plant, become familiar with that siren and when it is being tested.

  • Choose a room in which to shelter. It should be an interior room with few or no windows, doors, or vents. If possible, choose a room with a water supply and a hard-wired telephone.

  • Prepare an emergency supply kit.

  • Know which local radio and TV stations broadcast emergency information.

  • Pre-cut pieces of plastic sheeting to seal cracks around windows, doors, and vents in case of a chemical, radiological, or biological threat (to prevent air contaminants from entering the room).

  • Learn CPR and/or first aid.

  • Designate a contact person outside of your area for family members to call in an emergency to report where they are.

  • Safe Rooms

  • A safe room is a reinforced area of your home or building designed to withstand severe wind storms and chemical, radiological, and biological threats. For information on safe rooms and how to build one in your home, go to:

  • If you do not have a reinforced safe room, designate an interior room with few or no windows or external doors (e.g., a hall closet) as a temporary “safe room.”

  • If you have not been told to evacuate, use your designated “safe room” to help protect you during an emergency. (A non-reinforced safe room is not typically suitable for protection in a mobile home during high-wind emergencies.)


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