A shelter is facility set up to provide temporary housing for persons unable to continue their living arrangements in separate family units due to emergency incident such as a flood, earthquake or hurricane.
A shelter used for a short term would not be occupied for more than 72 hours. If it is needed much longer other arrangements will be put in place.
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management of your Regional/City Corporation Disaster Coordination can give you the location of the nearest shelter. There is an ongoing programme to place signs on buildings that are to be used as shelters. Learn this sign, as it will help you to identify a shelter.
Reasons to stay at a shelter
Listen to the radio for advisories which would tell you if your home is in danger or you must leave.
If your home has been damaged during a disaster, you should first seek shelter with friends or neighbours or go to a shelter.
If you live in an area that continually floods, or is near a river that is likely to overflow its banks, or in other flat areas that may be swept by dangerous storm waves. Plan to leave if water levels begin to rise.
If you live near the coastline, you may be at risk from a storm surge during a hurricane so plan to leave.
If you believe your home cannot offer adequate protection against the winds from a hurricane or flood water, plan to leave before the impact.
Plan a safe route to the public shelter
You must plan early and know the safest possible route to the nearest shelter. If you are leaving your home during peak traffic, then it will take longer to reach the shelter, so leave early. Make sure all members of your family know the safest route and have a plan on how to contact family members if you should become separated.
What to take:
24 hours supply of non-perishable food and water (do not forget a manual can opener)
Toilet articles example sanitary napkins, tampons, soap and toilet tissue
Infants necessities, example milk, pins, diapers, baby food etc
Portable radio and batteries
Fist Aid Kit
Do not take alcoholic beverages, weapons or pets to shelters. Provide food and water in your home or board your pet with your veterinarian or kennel.
Every shelter will have a manager who is responsible for all activities in the shelter. It is extremely important to obey the rules of the shelter and the Shelter Managers orders. Be willing to assist with minor chores if asked.
It is important to:
Keep calm at all times
Always know where your children are
Avoid unnecessary noise
Care for and maintain the shelter and its fixtures
Remember that the shelter is a necessary place of safety; it does not have the comforts of your own home. Be prepared for this.
Return home only when authorities tell you it is safe to do so.
Shelter rules and regulations
1. All existing laws of the country will be enforced.
2. Shelterees shall use the shelter areas as assigned by the Shelter Manager.
3. Personal conflicts shall be resolved by the shelter group leaders if possible.
4. Minor violations, such as loud noise at night, shall be handled by the group leaders.
5. Any necessary restraint and serious disciplinary action will be ordered only by the Shelter Manager in consultation with his/her advisory committee.
information courtesy of www.odpm.gov.tt
taken from Newssday article entitled "Safe havens in times of emergency"
Sunday, October 31 2010