Inclusive Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness can include more than evacuation plan. Rare situations may require “sheltering in place.” The need to remain in a building may be due to contamination in the environment or may be a last resort during a threat to public safety. In a workplace, preparations for the potential need to shelter in place can include creating a reserve of water, batteries, and non-perishable food, as well as having a plan that takes into account the needs of all people typically in the space. 

Since the basic idea of sheltering in place is to ensure that there are barriers between people and the danger, the ideal place is an interior room with no window, as well as access to communications technology and a bathroom. Individuals who may require assistance during an emergency should be familiar with the locations of interior rooms, have a plan in place, and ensure that others know how to provide any needed assistance. Setting up a buddy system in advance can also be useful.

The state of Arizona has prepared a checklist of what is needed in order to be prepared to stay in one place in the event of an emergency and it is available here.  Florida Atlantic University also has a guide to sheltering in place here that includes points about helping people with visual, hearing, or mobility disabilities in an emergency.