The reason should be no surprise.
People may evacuate or shelter in place during a disaster situation. Evacuees often find themselves seeking refuge in an established shelter of one type or another. Shelters are typically preplanned and established within the framework of a disaster plan that includes a system of public information. Those who don't evacuate to a shelter, didn't receive shelter information, or are unfamiliar with their current location, may find themselves seeking safe haven at locations of perceived safety. Public locations such as schools and libraries may be thought of as "places to go" during a crisis. Similarly, other installations may represent a location of service or place to go for help. Fire stations and healthcare facilities are often understood to be locations were the public can go for help in times of crisis. But are these locations suitable and prepared to become shelters during disaster or crisis situations?
What happens when public expectation is not met?
|Photo credit: Michael Ehrman|
Michael Ehrman, retired emergency manager and long time MJ follower, sent in the above photo taken at a school in his area. What locations in your ares might be considered to be a safe haven or shelter by the public? Is your agency prepared to take in refugees during a disaster? Finally, are you aware of public perceptions concerning sheltering in your area? In the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and more recently, Super Storm Sandy, this would be a good time to explore those questions and include the proper information in your public education and preparedness efforts.
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