By Allan B. Fraser, CBI, CPCA,
Sr. Building Code Specialist, NFPA
This is the fifth in the ten part series on personal disaster planning.
If you’ve had to evacuate your home or office or anywhere else for that matter, and it’s going to be some time before you can get back into your home, you’ll need to find shelter. It may be a rather simple exercise to find shelter, but maybe not. First we need to define “shelter”.
Definition of shelter
- Something that covers or affords protection a bomb shelter,
- An establishment providing food and shelter (as to the homeless) and if you’ve had to evacuate you are homeless!
- An establishment that houses and feeds stray or unwanted animals
To find a potential shelter you can contact:
- The American Red Cross - http://www.redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery/find-an-open-shelter
- The Salvation Army - http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/housing-and-homeless-services
- FEMA Housing Portal - http://asd.fema.gov/inter/hportal/home.htm
- FEMA Evacuee Hotel List - http://www.femaevachotels.com/
- Local Emergency Manager and/or first responders
Emergencies and the need to evacuate can happen suddenly and you may not have time to pack. Your safety is most important goal – grab your loved ones and get out of harm’s way! However, if you’ve planned and prepared a list of things you’ll need, you may be able to pack some things. Please consider these tips.
Things to know about the shelter and pre- planning will help:
- Is it outside the incident area?
- Is it with relatives/friends/hotel/public?
- Is it designed for short/long term?
- Is it accessible for people with disabilities?
- Does it have food/water?
- Does it have bathing facilities?
Things to Bring:
- Personal Contact List
- Durable Medical Equipment
- Cell phone/Laptop or tablet
- Device chargers
- Your child’s stuffed animal,
- Blanket or other “lovey”
Information you’ll want to get while you’re in the shelter:
- Property Status
- How to obtain it?
- When can I return? /date?
- Transportation and who will provide?
- Other damage in the area beside my home? Stores, businesses, utilities, roads, etc
- Can I Rebuild?
- Will my insurance, or disaster relief cover it?
- How long will it take to re-build?
- Where can I stay while I’m rebuilding?
I suggest that you print this article to make your own checklist with the answers that you develop and keep it handy. I’d also strongly suggest that you update it once a year. Pick a date and stick with it. It strikes me that making it a “Thanksgiving” tradition would be the perfect.
Part six of the ten-part series will be in the next issue, September, 2017.