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To shelter in place is to protect yourself by finding the safest area near you and putting as much distance and as many barriers between you and the threat as possible. Taking shelter will depend on the kind of hazard being faced and where you are located when it becomes a threat.
- Authorities will issue public notices to shelter in place if it is determined that an outside hazard is a threat to life safety and an evacuation would pose a greater risk.
Reasons to shelter
Plan for different situations. For example, you may be travelling or stuck in traffic, at home with friends and family or at the office away from loved ones. Each situation will require a different approach. Take a few minutes to evaluate your workplace, classroom and other places you visit often to identify spaces that could become a shelter if needed.
Thunderstorms, tornadoes, and blizzards occur frequently across Alberta. They can be unpredictable, move quickly, and cause widespread devastation.
- Up-to-date Alberta weather and climate data is available through the Alberta Climate Information Service (ACIS) Data Products and Tools.
If you are at home during severe weather, bring everyone indoors, including pets if it is safe.
If you are in a mobile home or vehicle how you respond depends on the threat:
- During thunderstorms or blizzards, find nearby shelter in a building with a solid foundation if possible. If a solid building is not available, your vehicle can protect you.
- During extreme winds or a tornado, exit the vehicle and take cover in a ditch, culvert or low-lying area immediately. Cover your head for protection, beware of flooding from downpours, and be prepared to move.
This Shelter in place - Severe weather fact sheet can help you plan for different situations. For example, you may be travelling or stuck in traffic, at home with friends and family or at the office away from loved ones.
Flooding emergencies require a different response. To learn about floods and what you can do to protect yourself visit floods.
Hazardous air quality
Taking shelter will depend on the kind of air quality hazard you are facing and where you are located when it becomes a threat. Sometimes, contaminants are accidently released into the air. This can occur during industrial or vehicle accidents or train derailments. If inhaled, these contaminants can pose a significant threat to your health.
This Shelter in place – Hazardous air fact sheet can help you plan for different situations. For example, you may be travelling or stuck in traffic, at home with friends and family or at the office away from loved ones.
Contaminates are different from common air pollutants such as emissions. However, pollutants should also be considered harmful as they can cause similar affects, with a varying degree of severity to your health.
Use the interactive Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) map or download the AQHI Canada App to track air quality in your community.
Before sheltering in place
Being prepared before an emergency, disaster, or disruption can help to reduce its impact and support the recovery of you and your loved ones.
- Know your risk to the hazards in your community so you can plan for them. When looking to develop or buy property, assess your risk and avoid high-risk areas.
- Get informed and stay informed by downloading or signing up for local and provincial emergency alert services. Identify trusted sources of information you can rely on such as your community’s website.
- Start the conversation with those around you. Talking about how you would shelter in place can help increase awareness and motivate preparedness actions.
- Build an emergency kit and gather supplies to last a minimum of 72 hours so you can be self-reliant until help arrives. Consider any unique needs to your household such as medications.
- Talk to your insurance provider to make sure your policies fully protect you, your property, and belongings. Don’t forget to take pictures in the case of a claim.
- Create community connections to build resilience. When people work together it can reduce stress and help everyone navigate disruption more easily.
- Create an emergency plan including how you will communicate and connect with loved ones if separated. A plan can help reduce stress during a difficult situation.
Build emotional preparedness by taking care of your mental health. Coping and wellness actions can help you think clearer, make informed decisions and recognize when it is time to ask for help. To get started, visit 211 Alberta to find out what community information, resources and supports are available near you.
Connect with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]
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