A Shelter-In-Place Pack is similar to a Get-Home-Pack in that some of the same items may be contained in both, however there are differences in items as well as the quantity of items. The Shelter-In-Place pack can also be easily converted into a Get-Home-Pack when/if you need to get on the go, so this is a versatile multi-purpose pack.
A Shelter-In-Place Pack is just that, it is meant to be used when you are away from home and your disaster plan calls for you to either stay where you are or for some unforeseen reason you are unable to leave. At the minimum there should be enough food and supplies for you to last for three days, which is the standard FEMA recommended minimum based on an average of three days before you could expect rescue.
Ok, so you are at work, a disaster has occurred and you need to shelter-in-place, whether by design of your plan or it is not safe to leave at this time. What would you need to survive? That is what we are going to discuss here, we will list the items that have proven in past disasters could have helped someone in this situation, plus we will add a few things of our own.
Safeguard Your Supplies
First and foremost, DO NOT share information with your co-workers that you have a Shelter-In-Place Pack, your life may depend on it! During times of disaster, in desperation people will do things that otherwise they would never do, and using your preparations for their own survival is not beneath happening. It is up to you to safeguard these supplies, it could be what makes the difference between you making it safely home to your family or not.
We all saw how things quickly escalated out of control during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The images everyone watched of people on rooftops begging passing helicopters for rescue, desperate signs saying “Out of Food” or “Out of Water”. There was widespread looting in stores everywhere, and I’m not just talking about people taking food, people were stealing Electronics, TV’s, anything that was not bolted to the floors was taken, even some police were looting as well. It is unfortunate that with any disaster comes the elements in society that want to take advantage of the situation for their own personal gain. It is especially important for a woman that you consider carefully before you decide to strike out on foot for home, it is highly possibly that it will not be safe to do so.
Have A Plan
My family’s plan is for my wife to Shelter-In-Place as I make my way to her location to join her. From that point we will team up to make it to our children’s location, reuniting our family. At that point if we are at a location other than home, we will reassess the current situation to determine should we stay in place?, can we stay in place?, is the situation escalating? or is it declining?, is it safer to leave towards home? Those are things that you would need to be asking yourself in that situation.
Your plans may differ, it will depend on many factors:
- Are you married or single? If you are married, you and your spouse have to work as a team to get to a safe location.
- Does only one of you work or if married do both of you work away from home? If you are married then you need to decide what is the best plan to get both of you from your work locations to your home where hopefully you have planned ahead and have supplies waiting.
- Do you have children? If so then, are they in school or at a day care? you must decide how you are going to get to their location to get them. I suggest you team up with your spouse to do this for two reasons; one it is harder to travel when you have children especially if you are walking so when you get the children you should head straight home, second with two people it is much easier to watch for any problems or threats that might arise, and third your children will feel much calmer having both parents together with them. If your children are in a school or daycare and both of you work, is there a friend or relative that lives closer to the children’s location that could get them for you to keep them safe with them? If so they you should have a plan in place with that person so they understand what they need to do, and make sure you have taken the necessary steps with the school/day care to allow that person to pick up your children. *Make sure you carry identification with you to the school/day care, most places will require identification before releasing custody of the children to you or anyone else you designate to pick them up.
- How far do you work from your home? On average a young person in their 20’s in good shape can easily do about 20 miles per day, older adults or in less than perfect shape may be able to do about 8-10 miles per day. So you need to determine your walking route, how far do you have to walk, if you can’t make it in one day you need to plan accordingly for a place(s) for staying overnight, I suggest putting pencil-to-map and determining approximate stopping locations then drive/walk those areas to get an idea of where you could safely stay hidden. Remember the first day you will probably do more miles than you will the following days due to blisters, tiredness, lack of sleep, lack of normal food, etc.
- How will you and your spouse communicate if cellphone networks are overwhelmed? Ham Radio? Satellite Phone? You need to get a communication plan in place that specifies not only how you will communicate and when, but also what to do if all communication is disrupted.
I won’t go over every item in the list as many are already discussed in our “Building a Get-Home-Pack” article.
This can be used to secure most doors from unwanted opening, i.e. great to have for an active shooter scenario, more effective than many door locks. I include two in case there is more than one entry door into the area, if there is only one door then use both for greater stopping power.
This is a good tool to have where you might have the opportunity to break a window to escape. Unlike in the movies it is much harder to break a window with a chair than it appears!
Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight
We like this light because it can be charged three ways; AC outlet, Solar, and Hand Crank. It also can be used to charge USB devices like your phone.
FireMask Emergency Escape Hood
Provides you with 60 minutes of perfectly filtered air from heavy smoke, Carbon Monoxide (CO), Hydrogen Sulfide, Ammonia, toxic gases, fire, and radiant heat. This gives you the ability to escape a building protecting your respiratory organs.
Midland ER300 Emergency Radio
AM/FM NOAA Emergency Crank Radio with Solar Power Panel, also has an Ultrasonic Dog Whistle to assist search and rescue teams. During a disaster you will be able to stay informed of the current situation which can help you make a more informed decision about sheltering in place or trying to leave.