Disaster supply kit essential to any ‘Shelter in Place’ plan

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This is Part 2 of a series that started in the Jan. 23 issue.

“Shelter in Place” is a safety procedure designed to help protect you and your family during a serious airborne hazardous-materials emergency. It means taking shelter inside your home until the danger has passed.

The goal is to prevent contaminated outside air from entering your home for the duration of the incident. You will be instructed to Shelter In Place by local authorities via the  Carroll County Regional Notification System. This is an automated system that sends messages via telephone land lines.

What to include in your disaster supply kit

First, you need to develop a Shelter in Place plan for your home and practice it with your family on a regular basis. Your plan should include a pre-packed disaster supply kit outfitted with emergency supplies.

At a minimum, the kit should include a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, so you can listen for updates on the incident; bottled water; snacks; and a first aid kit, especially if you have small children; a flashlight and extra batteries, in case electrical service is interrupted; personal hygiene items; a plastic bucket with a tight lid and garbage bags, in case you cannot use the bathroom for an extended period of time.

Don’t forget to include any specialty items, such as medications. If you or a family member require oxygen or breathing treatment supplies, be sure to pack those, along with any other health-related items you might need.

To prevent contaminated air from entering your home, you must have a supply of thick plastic sheeting to cover windows, doors, vents and electrical outlets, and duct tape to secure it in place.

To save time should an emergency arise, cut the plastic sheeting for all applications ahead of time, rather than waiting until you need it. The time you save, in the long run, could be critical.

Also, even if you do pre-cut the plastic sheeting, make sure you pack a good pair of scissors into your disaster supply kit.

Remember, using good common sense in any emergency situation is always the best protection.