Archived Story

Do 1 Thing: Know your shelters

Published 11:05am Thursday, March 6, 2014

March’s theme for Do 1 Thing is “Sheltering.” The goal is to know how to respond safely when instructions are given to evacuate or take shelter.

In a disaster, you may be asked to either evacuate or shelter-in-place. In the excitement of an emergency, it can be difficult to focus on what you are doing. Know what to do to keep your family safe. Practice your tornado and fire safety plans. If your family has practiced, they will be more comfortable doing it when the emergency actually happens.

Our first tip this month is to learn how to safely shelter in place. In an emergency like a chemical spill, you may be told to “shelter-in-place”. This means to make the place where you are a safe place to stay until the danger has passed. Shelter in place orders will be given when it would be dangerous for you to go outside.

Notification: Warning sirens may be used to warn people that it is not safe to be outside. Emergency responders may go door to door in the affected area. They may also use loudspeakers from police or fire vehicles to give instructions. Information will also be given over television and radio using the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

What to do: In a hazardous material incident, the first thing to do is get information. Turn on the television and radio to find out if your area is affected and what steps to take. Never call 911 to get information about an emergency. Only call 911 if you are injured or need assistance.

If you are told to shelter in place you should close all doors and windows and shut off fans and air conditioners. Take your family to a room with as few doors and windows as possible. You may be told to put towels or tape around the cracks of the windows and doors. Follow emergency instructions carefully. Make sure you take a battery-powered radio with you so that you will know when the danger has passed. Power in your area may be shut off during the incident.

I will be attending training throughout the month of March, which means I will have more information for you, the public. This week, I and three of my counterparts, have been in Lansing teaching the Teaching, Educating, And Mentoring (TEAM) program to 22 other police officers, the curriculum we use in the schools to teach K-12 safety tips and talk about the law and government.

Later in the month I will be attending training on Amber Alert, receiving updates and new information. I finish the month with the Traffic Safety Summit where I will assist with bicycle and car seat safety, finishing the month with a seminar/training on workplace violence. I will print more information as these trainings are completed.

Email your questions and/or comments to

By using this website’s user-contribution features, including comments, photo galleries, or any other feature, you agree to abide by the terms of use. Please read this agreement in its entirety because it contains useful information that will help you better understand the rules and general "good manners" that are expected when contributing content to this website.

Editor's Picks