Emergency Information

Needs to know what to do in the emergency situation!

New Page 1

Emergency Alerts:

Public safety officials use timely and reliable systems to alert you and your family in the event of natural or man-made disasters. This page describes different warning alerts you can receive and the types of devices that receive the alerts.

 

Wireless Emergency Alerts:

During an emergency, alert and warning officials need to provide the public with life-saving information quickly. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), made available through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) infrastructure, are just one of the ways public safety officials can quickly and effectively alert and warn the public about serious emergencies.

 

What you need to know about WEAs:

  • WEAs can be sent by state and local public safety officials, the National Weather Service, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the President of the United States.

  • WEAs can be issued for three alert categories – imminent threat, AMBER, and presidential.

  • WEAs look like text messages, but are designed to get your attention and alert you with a unique sound and vibration, both repeated twice.

  • WEAs are no more than 90 characters, and will include the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, as well as the agency issuing the alert.

  • WEAs are not affected by network congestion and will not disrupt texts, calls, or data sessions that are in progress.

  • Mobile users are not charged for receiving WEAs and there is no need to subscribe.

  • To ensure your device is WEA-capable, check with your service provider.

Emergency Alert System:

  • The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), is a modernization and integration of the nation's existing and future alert and warning systems, technologies, and infrastructure.

  • The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, satellite digital audio service and direct broadcast satellite providers, cable television systems, and wireless cable systems to provide the President with a communications capability to address the American people within 10 minutes during a national emergency.

  • EAS may also be used by state and local authorities, in cooperation with the broadcast community, to deliver important emergency information, such as weather information, imminent threats, AMBER alerts, and local incident information targeted to specific areas.

  • The President has sole responsibility for determining when the national-level EAS will be activated. FEMA is responsible for national-level EAS tests and exercises.

  • EAS is also used when all other means of alerting the public are unavailable, providing an added layer of resiliency to the suite of available emergency communication tools.

NOAA Weather Radio:

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information from the nearest National Weather Service office.

  • NWR broadcasts official warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • It also broadcasts alerts of non-weather emergencies such as national security, natural, environmental, and public safety through the Emergency Alert System.

Shelter:

Choosing to take shelter is necessary in many emergencies.

 

Taking appropriate shelter is critical in times of disaster. Sheltering is appropriate when conditions require that you seek protection in your home, place of employment or other location when disaster strikes. Sheltering outside the hazard area could include staying with friends and relatives, seeking commercial lodging or staying in a mass care facility operated by disaster relief groups.

 

To effectively shelter, you must first consider the hazard and then choose a place in your home or other building that is safe for that hazard. For example, for a tornado, a room should be selected that is in a basement or an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.

 

The safest locations to seek shelter vary by hazard. Be Informed about the sheltering suggestions for each hazard.

 

There may be situations, depending on your circumstances and the nature of the disaster, when it's simply best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside by “sheltering in place".

 

The length of time you are required to shelter may be short, such as during a tornado warning, or long, such as during a winter storm or a pandemic. It is important that you stay in shelter until local authorities say it is safe to leave. Additionally, you should take turns listening to radio broadcasts and maintain a 24-hour safety watch.

 

During extended periods of sheltering, you will need to manage water and food supplies to ensure you and your family have the required supplies and quantities. Read more about Managing Water and Managing Food.

 

Mass Care Shelter:

Even though mass care shelters often provide water, food, medicine and basic sanitary facilities, you should plan to take your disaster supplies kit with you so you will have the supplies you require. Mass care sheltering can involve living with many people in a confined space, which can be difficult and unpleasant. To avoid conflicts in the stressful situation, it is important to cooperate with shelter managers and others assisting them. Keep in mind that alcoholic beverages and weapons are forbidden in emergency shelters and smoking is restricted.

 

Search for open shelters by texting SHELTER and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA). Ex: Shelter 01234 (standard rates apply).

 

Learn more by visiting: https://www.disasterassistance.gov/.

 

Guidelines for Staying Put (Sheltering In Place):

Whether you are at home, work or elsewhere, there may be situations when it's simply best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside.

 

There may be circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as "sealing the room," is a matter of survival.

 

Use common sense and available information to assess the situation and determine if there is immediate danger. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you may want to take this kind of action.

 

The process used to seal the room is considered a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between you and potentially contaminated air outside. It is a type of sheltering in place that requires preplanning.

  • Bring your family and pets inside.

  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.

  • Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems.

  • Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.

  • Go into an interior room with few windows, if possible.

  • Seal all windows, doors and air vents with 2-4 mil. thick plastic sheeting and duct tape. Consider measuring and cutting the sheeting in advance to save time.

  • Cut the plastic sheeting several inches wider than the openings and label each sheet.

  • Duct tape plastic at corners first and then tape down all edges.

  • Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination.

  • Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.

Evacuation:

 

Plan to Evacuate:

A wide variety of emergencies may cause an evacuation. In some instances you may have a day or two to prepare, while other situations might call for an immediate evacuation. Planning ahead is vital to ensuring that you can evacuate quickly and safely, no matter what the circumstances.

 

Before an Evacuation:

  • Learn the types of disasters that are likely in your community and the local emergency, evacuation, and shelter plans for each specific disaster.

  • Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.

    • Identify several places you could go in an emergency such as a friend’s home in another town or a motel. Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency.

    • If needed, identify a place to stay that will accept pets. Most public shelters allow only service animals.

    • Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.

    • Always follow the instructions of local officials and remember that your evacuation route may be on foot depending on the type of disaster.

  • Develop a family/household communication and re-unification plan so that you can maintain contact and take the best actions for each of you and re-unite if you are separated.

  • Assemble supplies that are ready for evacuation, both a “go-bag” you can carry when you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling by longer distances if you have a personal vehicle. 

  • If you have a car:

    • Keep a full tank of gas in it if an evacuation seems likely. Keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.

    • Make sure you have a portable emergency kit in the car.

    • If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if needed. Make arrangements with family, friends or your local government.

During an Evacuation:

  • A list of open shelters can be found on.

  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.

  • Take your emergency supply kit.

  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.

  • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency now.

  • If time allows:

    • Call or email the out-of-state contact in your family communications plan. Tell them where you are going.

    • Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.

    • Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding. If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.

    • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.

    • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat.

    • Check with neighbors who may need a ride.

  • Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.

  • Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.