Often times, the Threat Preparedness staff is asked, “What can I do to protect myself in case of a disaster?” We suggest that one have an emergency plan, practice it, and have enough emergency supplies to take care of the household for at least 72 hours.
All disasters begin “at home” whether it is an emergency that only affects a single family, a neighborhood, or a city. It is important that individuals be prepared to take care of themselves, their families, and their pets. It is also important that one understands what different emergency terms mean. The following terms are a few examples that one should be aware of.
Shelter-In-Place: This means to take immediate shelter where you are—at home, work, school, or in between. It may also mean “seal the room;” in other words, take steps to prevent outside air from coming in. This is because local authorities may instruct you to “shelter-in-place” if chemical or radiological contaminants are released into the environment. It is important to listen to TV or radio to understand whether the authorities wish you to merely remain indoors or to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family. Visit http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/shelter for more information.
Evacuation: Prepare yourself and your family now in the event of an evacuation. Evacuations are more common that many people realize. Fires and floods cause evacuations most frequently across the U.S. and almost every year, people along coastlines evacuate as hurricane approach. In addition, hundreds of times a year, transportation and industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing may people to leave their homes. For Evacuation Guidelines to prepare yourself and your family, please visit http://www.ready.gov/evacuating-yourself-and-your-family .
Quarantine and Isolation: Isolation and quarantine are used to protect the public by preventing exposure to infected persons or to persons who may be infected. Isolation is used to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy. Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. Quarantine can also help limit the spread of communicable disease. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/quarantineisolation.html for additional information.