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Shelter-in-Place - Transportation

In some emergencies, some people or entire communities will need to shelter-in-place. In these situations, the need to transport people to and from their homes will be limited. Nevertheless, people still must be able to move around their shelter-in-place location. Planners should identify these transportation needs before an event.


During some emergencies, people may need to shelter-in-place. This may be at home, in their office, or wherever they happen to be at the time. In other cases, individuals may be able to move to a safe location. Transportation to a shelter-in-place location may be more difficult for those with disabilities. People need to know how to get to their shelter-in-place location, how to stock their location, and how to transport people and goods into and out of that location. Planners should think about transportation needs before, during, and after an event.

Educate the community. People with disabilities may experience problems moving about when they shelter-in-place. When planning, individuals must consider the need to move around. An education program will help people identify their shelter-in-place needs.

Plan for various locations. Planners should help the public plan shelters in places they regularly spend time. An emergency may happen during school, at work, or at home. Planning should determine the place of shelter based on all disaster scenarios. Shelters should be safe for occupants and accessible to emergency workers who may bring supplies.

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It is important to make sure transportation is available during and after a disaster. This includes getting to and from shelter locations.

Educate the public. Planners should instruct the public on how to shelter-in-place. A public awareness campaign on how to shelter-in-place can help educate the public. People must understand transportation limits when planning a way to their shelter. Care providers, advocacy groups, and community members can help point out ways to address special needs.

Include alternative transportation. Traditional emergency vehicles may not be available in every emergency. Those who need wheelchair lifts and ramps may not have access to them. Therefore, it is necessary to include alternate vehicles in disaster plans.

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People will want to return to their normal activities after an emergency. Those with mobility limitations may need help returning home if they have sheltered-in-place somewhere else.

Identify shelter locations. Planners can use geographical and architectural mapping tools to locate shelter-in-place sites. These tools will help planners get to shelter sites and get people out if needed.

Carry extra equipment and supplies. Those who have been sheltered may need extra medical equipment, wheelchairs, and medication. Workers moving people from shelters should have supplies on hand to assist.

Ensure accessibility. A disaster may limit shelter entry and exit. Damaged property or barriers may need to fixed to reach those sheltered. Planners can anticipate these needs ahead of time by:

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After a disaster, take steps to lessen the impact of future events. The positive and negative outcomes of the event can give important lessons. Review notes, plans, and procedures against their impact to improve future outcomes.

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Additional Resources

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