In the event of an emergency, the CERT will communicate the nature of the emergency and actions you should take to remain safe. Two of the main actions you may be instructed to do include Shelter in Place or Evacuate.
Guidelines for Sheltering In Place
Seeking shelter (going inside) or sheltering (staying inside) means to immediately move to the nearest building and await further instruction. Sheltering in place is used when there is not time to evacuate or when certain conditions may render it unsafe to do so. If you are asked to shelter in place, immediately follow these actions:
- Stop what you are doing right away (i.e., classes, work, and business operations).
- Stop where you are and look for the best accessible space for sheltering. Do not risk exposure by moving to another building whether by foot or by vehicle.
- Select interior room(s) with the fewest windows or vents. If the emergency involves severe weather, choose a location on the lowest floor possible. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit in. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary. Large storage closets, utility rooms, and copy and conference rooms without exterior windows work well.
- Avoid selecting a room with mechanical equipment like ventilation blowers or pipes. It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room(s) you select.
- Close and lock all windows, exterior doors, and any other openings to the outside, where possible. If advised there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
- Have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Be mindful that cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
- Bring everyone into the room. Shut and lock the door(s). Be alert for the ENS updates until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.
Guidelines for Evacuating
If you are instructed to evacuate, you should leave the indicated location at once. Evacuation requires community members to exit a building or area and in some instances the campus. In the event of an evacuation, you would be given instructions on what areas need to be evacuated and where you should assemble or relocate. The following guidelines should be followed:
- Elevators should not be used; occupants should exit by way of accessible stairwells.
- Landings and stairwells should be checked for individuals who may need assistance due to a mobility impairment or disability.
- Evacuations must be timely and orderly; don’t stop or stay in the area in order to retrieve personal belongings.
- Move quickly and calmly; if a relocation site is indicated, go there and await further instruction.
- If you cannot evacuate, move to the nearest window and signal for help and contact the Office of Public Safety at 607-274-3333.