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Lake County, Ohio - EMA

Shelter Prep and Notify

    Shelter-in-place preparation and notification information

    At Home

    "Shelter-in-place" means to take immediate shelter where you are—at home, work, school or in between - usually for just a few hours. Local authorities may instruct you to "shelter-in-place" if chemical or radiological contaminants are released into the environment.

    How can I be prepared to shelter-in-place?  

    • Choose a room in advance for your shelter.
    • Contact your workplaces, your children's schools, nursing homes where you may have family and your local town or city officials to find out what their plans are for "shelter-in-place."
    • Find out when warning systems will be tested. When tested in your area, determine whether you can hear or see sirens and/or warning lights from your home.
    • Develop your own family emergency plan so that every family member knows what to do. Practice it regularly.
    • Assemble a disaster supplies kit that includes emergency water and food supplies.

    At work

    Help ensure that the emergency plan and checklist involves all employees. Volunteers or recruits should be assigned specific duties during an emergency. Alternates should be assigned to each duty.

    The shelter kit should be checked on a regular basis. Duct tape and first aid supplies can sometimes disappear when all employees know where the shelter kit is stored. Batteries for the radio and flashlight should be replaced regularly.

    How will I know when I need to "shelter-in-place"?

    Media and government warning procedures include:

    • Reverse 911 telephoning—an automated system for sending recorded messages.
    • Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcasts on the radio or television. 
    • Outdoor warning sirens. Lake County has 126 sirens throughout the three counties in the Emergency Planning Zones.
    • News media sources—radio, television and cable.
    • NOAA Weather Radio alerts.
    • Residential route alerting—messages announced to neighborhoods from vehicles equipped with public address systems.

    Emergency Alert System Stations:

    WTAM 1100 AM    WCPN 90.3 FM

    WKYC TV 3    WEWS TV 5    WJW TV 8    WOIO TV 19    WVIZ TV 25    WUAB TV 43

    Shelter Safety for Sealed Rooms

    Ten square feet of floor space per person will provide sufficient air to prevent carbon dioxide build-up for up to five hours, assuming a normal breathing rate while resting.

    However, local officials are unlikely to recommend the public shelter in a sealed room for more than 2-3 hours because the effectiveness of such sheltering diminishes with time as the contaminated outside air gradually seeps into the shelter. At this point, evacuation from the area is the better protective action to take.

    Pick an interior room. The room should have ten square feet of floor space per person in order to provide sufficient air to prevent carbon dioxide buildup for five hours. In this room, you should store scissors, plastic sheeting pre-cut to fit over any windows or vents and rolls of duct tape to secure the plastic. Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels or plastic sheeting and duct tape. Seal gaps around window and air conditioning units, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and stove and dryer vents with duct tape and plastic sheeting, wax paper or aluminum wrap. Use material to fill cracks and holes in the room, such as those around pipes. Access to a water supply is desirable, as is a working hard-wired telephone. Don't rely on cell phones because cellular telephone circuits may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency. Also, a power failure will render most cordless phones inoperable.

    The appropriate location depends entirely on the emergency situation. If a chemical has been released, you should take shelter in a room above ground level, because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep below ground. On the other hand, if there are radioactive particles in the air, you should choose a centrally located room or basement. Knowing what to do under specific circumstances is an important part of being prepared. Access to bathrooms is a plus.