We are faced with an abundant amount of unprecedented challenges right now. Across the county and even the nation, people are being asked to “stay-at-home” to lessen the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Before this time, most people were not aware of what the term shelter-in-place meant. As defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA, shelter-in-place means “the use of a structure to temporarily separate individuals from a hazard or threat”. As we face the threat of COVID-19, it is important that everyone is aware what it means to shelter-in-place and how to do so properly. Leaning on trustworthy information is critical during these times.
As with any disaster it is important that you are accurately informed about what is going on. Your information should come from a reliable source such as your local emergency management office, state authorities, or the Center for Disease Control. Once you have identified your source, make sure you are heeding to the instructions that are given. Local officials will give directions on how to stay safe and what actions or restrictions need to be taken for the well-being of the community.
The last study completed by the (FEMA) on household preparedness revealed that just 18% of people participated in a shelter-in-place drill when the survey was taken. When individuals and families are asked to stay-at-home, there are essential supplies that each home should have on hand. Those items include, but are not limited to:
- Nonperishable food items (canned food, peanut butter, crackers, cereal, fruit cups, etc.)
- Can opener
- First aid supplies
- Flashlight (with extra batteries)
- Weather radio (battery operated or hand-crank)
- List of prescriptions and medications
- Extra formula/diapers/wipes
- Pet food and water
- Hygiene items
Be sure that food is kept in a cool, dry place. Check the expiration dates of items and replace them when needed. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that every household and family is different. Adjust the items you have on hand based on the needs of your family. Someone in your home may have dietary restrictions or have other special needs that have to be considered. They recommended minimum number of days to have supplies on hand and to be prepared to stay at home is at least three days. Given the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19, states where stay-at-home orders have been given, three weeks has been the current minimum right now.
Given the fact that a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order restricts the time spent outside of the home, prepare different activities you can do indoors. You may decide to play board or card games, do in-home workouts, and get some chores done. Reading, knitting, or other in-door hobbies are also suitable while the order is in place. Remember, you want to do your best not to stress out about the current state of the community but find some joy as well. If you know an elderly person or isolated neighbor, give them a call to check on them to make sure they are OK.
While shelter-in-place orders are in place, many people may want to know how they can help or get involved. Check with your local human services agencies to find out if donations can be made online or if there are other opportunities available. Remember during this time it is essential to stay informed and relax. Essential services and business will almost always be available in order to meet your basic needs. Orders like these are meant to protect the general health and safety of our community and we can all do our part to ensure our community remains resilient.