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to Shelter in Place
Practical Tools for Households, Work Places,
Schools and Early Childhood/Youth Programs, and Governments
Sheltering in place means staying inside whatever building you happen to be in at the time of an emergency or, if you are outside, going into an undamaged building nearby and staying there for a period that may last hours to several days. Officials will instruct people in a danger zone to shelter in place if an explosion or chemical spill releases toxic dust, fumes, radiation, or chemicals outside. Community residents may want to protect themselves this way if an emergency like an electrical blackout or snowstorm makes it very difficult or unsafe for them to go anywhere else. Depending on when the emergency occurs, many of the people who need to shelter in place may be somewhere other than their homes - for example, at work, school, or shopping - apart from other household members.
Although community members need to be able to shelter in place to protect themselves in various kinds of emergencies, the small group discussions (SGDs) identify serious and unanticipated problems that make it neither feasible nor safe for many people to shelter in place under current conditions. The instructions that the public and organizations are currently being given do not address most of these problems and sometimes make matters worse. Nonetheless, the actions suggested by SGD participants demonstrate that communities can make it possible for most people to shelter in place and that a variety of approaches can be effective.
To enable people and organizations around the country to strengthen their shelter-in-place preparedness efforts, the SGD findings have been used to create sets of specific issues for households, work places, schools and early childhood/youth programs, and governments to consider. Available in English and Spanish, the issue sets are designed to make people in each group aware of important issues that are within their purview to address and to stimulate their thinking about contextually appropriate solutions. In contrast to traditional approaches to emergency preparedness, the process for using the issue sets needs to be as inclusive as possible.
As people in each household or organization come together to use their tailored issue set, they may find the following tools helpful. The report, With the Public's Knowledge, We Can Make Sheltering in Place Possible provides a detailed description of the problems people face trying to shelter in place, documents the limitations of current instructions, shows how the issue sets can help schools and work places avoid liability by clarifying what these organizations might reasonably be expected to do, and describes the kinds of incentives and supports that government agencies and private philanthropies can provide to enable schools and work places around the country to realize these expectations. The Shelter-in-Place Card Set provides numerous examples of actions that households and organizations can take to address the issues they are considering. Equally important, the cards show how the actions of households, work places, schools, and governments reinforce each other in addressing particular problems.
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