Sheltering/Evacuations

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


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 limited pets outside of the shelter area.
    • 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 “72-Hour Kit” 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


  • All Delta County schools are designated shelters once opened. 
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
  • Take your emergency supply kit (72-Hour Kit).
  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather or backups in traffic.
  • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in some 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.

After an Evacuation


If you evacuated for the storm, check with local officials both where you’re staying and back home before you travel.
  • Residents returning to disaster-affected areas after significant events should expect and prepare for disruptions to daily activities, and remember that returning home before storm debris is cleared is dangerous.
  • If power was out at your residence for any amount of time, then restored before you come back, remember the food in your freezer has thawed, then refroze.  Please dispose of its contents. 
  • Let friends and family know before you leave and when you arrive.
  • Charge devices and consider getting back-up batteries in case power-outages continue.
  • Fill up your gas tank and consider downloading a fuel app to check for outages along your route.
  • Bring supplies such as water and non-perishable food for the car ride.
  • Avoid downed power or utility lines; they may be live with deadly voltage. 
  • Stay away and report them immediately to your power or utility company.
  • Only use generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home's electrical system.