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If local government officials advise evacuating the area, the Red Cross will open shelters in locations that will be safe. Be careful not to confuse an evacuation shelter with a room in a home or building that is selected to seal up and use to shelter-in-place.
Please do not confuse the recommendation to have at least three days worth of disaster supplies on hand with the amount of time that you may be asked to shelter-in-place. We always recommend having at least three days worth of supplies in case stores are closed and roads are impossible due to a disaster like a flood or winter storm.
You would seal only one room when advised to do so, and do it only when instructed - not in advance. It is likely that one roll of duct tape will be adequate. Plastic sheeting of durable thickness (thicker than food wrap) is recommended for covering vents and other openings to the outside - not the entire room. It is intended to provide a barrier to air flow.
While we can not guarantee that plastic sheeting over air vents will stop all biological, chemical, or radiological agents, it will add to the barrier of protection for your safety.
If such a room is below ground, it may not be the safest choice if told to stay at home and shelter-in-place during a weapons of mass destruction event due to the possibility that some contaminants may seep into rooms below ground level. For this reason, the Red Cross recommends and endorses having a safe room in areas where tornadoes are a threat.
However, do not confuse a safe room used for protection from windstorms with a room selected for shelter-in-place. They are technically different, although they serve a similar purpose. If a safe room for windstorms is above ground level and has no windows, it can also be an ideal location in which to shelter-in-place.
We recommend that you stock a complete kit to meet the needs of everyone in your home, and have it packed and ready to take with you in case you are advised to evacuate your home. You should also have a small disaster supplies kit in each vehicle you have, as well as supplies at your workplace. Sometimes it is easier to create one kit for each person in your home, so that the container is smaller and easier to carry. The amount of contents remains the same, in total, for everyone in your home.
If an organism develops resistance to common antibiotics, then more powerful antibiotics may have to be used instead. More powerful antibiotics often have serious side-effects, sometimes worse than the actual disease. In addition:
The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend that individuals stock up or take potassium iodide in advance of an attack. This is because potassium iodide is only useful for certain types of radioactivity, and can also be harmful if used improperly, or given to children or people with chronic or undiagnosed thyroid disease.
Consult your physician if you have questions about this chemical.
Also, designate someone who lives out of town to be the central contact, in case those you care about are in different places when disaster strikes.
We do not have information on how schools, colleges, or universities can develop disaster plans. Please consult the school board or local emergency management agency.
Parents should not drive to school to pick up children unless advised to do so; driving on the roadways may put you into harm's way.
While issuing these types of messages may cause some people to be concerned or anxious, we think that disaster preparedness actions as recommended by the Red Cross and government agencies are helpful.
The American Red Cross has resources available that can help children deal with terrorism and tragic events. See the lessons and activities to prepare your home and family for an emergency situation.
This bomb is designed to scatter dangerous and sub-lethal amounts of radioactive material over a general area. There is no way to estimate in advance the area that will be affected by such a bomb.
It is likely you will know very quickly if there is a chemical agent attack, but you may not know that there has been a biological attack immediately. Either way, the protective actions remain the same: go indoors for safety, and listen to local television and radio for advice on what to do.
If contamination is determined, you will be escorted through a decontamination process. You will then be given some form of identifier that indicated you are now free of contamination. Do not return to a contaminated area until it is determined safe by authorities, because you may have to go through the decontamination process again.
If you have further questions about decontamination procedures, please contact your local emergency management agency or local fire department.
If you are advised to evacuate, follow instructions provided on the radio or television.
It is always a good idea to get your Disaster Supplies Kit, move to the room you selected in which to shelter-in-place, and listen to local television and radio for more directions there.