You are here: Home > Protecting Your Family

Protecting Your Family

How will I know there is an emergency?

If there is an emergency release of a toxic chemical that could affect you and your family there will be an Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcast with instructions about what to do. The primary originating station for EAS is WTAM 1100 AM and the secondary originating station is WCPN 90.3 FM. Other stations may also pick up the broadcast, but it is advisable to tune in one of these two stations in the event of an emergency. Contact the Fire Department for your community in advance to learn about the system in place. Planning in advance for an emergency is always recommended.

You may be asked to Shelter-in-Place or Evacuate.

What is Shelter-in-Place? (SIP)

If local public officials ask you to SIP means that you should protect yourself and your family by using a building or structure to reduce the amount of exposure to the chemical or chemicals in the outside air. This method is often chosen as a means of population protection for small toxic releases with a short duration or when there isn't sufficient time to protect people from exposure in an evacuation. If you are asked to SIP please follow the steps below.

  1. Go inside immediately. Take yourself and anyone near you inside an enclosed structure, whether it's a house, business, garage, or vehicle. If you know of a person with access or functional needs or unattended child in your neighborhood, call and tell them to remain indoors. Keep any pets inside. Close all doors, windows, and other sources of outside air.
  2. Turn off air conditioning or heating systems, and close the fireplace damper to keep chemical vapors from entering the building. Ceiling fans or rotary fans inside the building can be safely used to keep cool. Gather portable radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  3. Move into an interior room, preferably a room with no windows. From the inside of the room, cover any outside doors, windows, ceiling vents, and other sources of outside air with plastic sheeting and masking tape. Place a wet towel or sheet along the bottom of the doorsill. If you smell any unusual odor or have trouble breathing, you should sit down, cover your nose and mouth with a damp washcloth and then take slow, shallow breaths and try to stay calm.
  4. Stay off the telephone. Do not call police, fire or 9-1-1 unless you are reporting an emergency at your location. Overloaded telephone circuits may stop actual emergency calls from getting through.

How will I know when the emergency is over?

Stay inside, sheltered in place, until you receive further instructions via an emergency broadcast or from local authorities via some other means.

If you are asked to open doors and windows and go outside, it is important to follow those instructions. When the toxic cloud has passed it will be safer outside.

If Evacuation is ordered by local authorities

  • Stay calm.
  • Gather what you and your family will need most. Take essential items such as medicine, baby supplies, clothing, radio and fresh batteries, driver's license, checkbook/credit cards.
  • Don't forget your pets.
  • Keep car windows and air vents closed.
  • Turn on your car radio to WTAM 1100 AM or WCPN 90.3 FM for information.
  • Police officers along the route will direct you.

If you have children in school

  • Do not call or travel to the school.
  • Students will be cared for and sheltered in schools until the emergency is over.
  • If evacuation is necessary, the students will be taken to a location specified in the school's emergency plan.

For more information on evacuation and sheltering-in-place, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) websites for Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place.