(WWLP) - "Shelter-in-Place is a standard protective action utilized in Emergency Management," states Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz. "It is most often used during an event in which hazardous materials have been accidentally released into the atmosphere, but also during other dangerous conditions, such as a severe storm, like a hurricane, when it is preferable to be indoors, not outside or on the road."
If a hurricane approaches New England, state or local Public Safety Officials may instruct you to "Shelter-in-Place". As with Evacuations, you would be alerted in a variety of ways. Learn what methods are utilized in your community. They could include:
• Outdoor sirens or horns.
• The Emergency Alert System (EAS) - information provided on the radio and television.
• National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Alert Radio.
• ‘All Call', ‘Reverse 911' or ‘Code Red' – one of a number of automated telephoning systems for sending recorded messages to which your community may subscribe.
• Traditional News Media.
• Residential Route Alerting, which dispatches Public Safety vehicles through neighborhoods announcing messages with Public Address systems or literally ‘knocking on doors".
• U.S. Coast Guard Marine Broadcast.
• A message on Teletypewriters (TTY).
• Social Media sources: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
The following are steps to be taken only when instructed to ‘Shelter-in-Place', not to be completed ahead of time:
• If instructed by Public Safety officials, you should immediately go indoors.
• Close and lock all doors and windows. Locking is preferred since it generally ensures that the door or window is shut tight.
• Close drapes, blinds and window shades.
• Protect windows with pre-drilled plywood sheets.
• Go to a room in the center of your home with the fewest windows and doors.
• It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room you select. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed during an emergency.
• Do not call your local fire or police departments (9-1-1) for information. Public Safety workers will need their lines open for emergency use. Call your local Emergency Management Office or Mass2-1-1, which is available 24/7 to respond to your questions.
• Take your Family Disaster Kit to that location.
• Keep pets indoors. Make sure you have additional food and water supplies for them.
• If you have livestock, shelter them, also. Provide them with stored feed and water.
• Continue to monitor your Emergency Alert Station (EAS) and other Media for official warnings, messages and instructions.
• Stay inside until officials say otherwise.
• If you are in your vehicle and are advised to ‘Shelter-in-Place', and are very close to home, your office or a public building, go there immediately.