Evacuations are more common than many people realize. Transportation and industrial accidents that release harmful substances, fires and floods force thousands of people to leave their homes. Evacuation may be voluntary or mandatory. When community evacuations become necessary, officials provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances, other warning methods, such as sirens or telephone calls, are also used. The amount of time available to evacuate depends upon the type and severity of the hazard. Prior to the need for evacuation, it is important that all citizens get a kit, make a plan and be informed. Individuals and families should get a kit that contains supplies that will allow them to survive for at least three days in the event an evacuation occurs. The kit should include basic items like water, food, battery powered radio, flash light, medicines and a first aid kit.
Depending upon the incident, shelter-in-place may be required, or citizens may be directed to relocate to a designated shelter out of harm's way. Officials provide information regarding these measures through the media. As noted above, notification may take place through other methods, such as sirens or telephone calls. Sheltering may be required for short-term or long-term durations depending on the hazard's impact on the community. Shelter-in-place may require specific actions to take within your home or workplace.
Mass care includes temporary sheltering, feeding, medical care, clothing distribution and other essential needs to people who have been displaced because of a disaster or threat situation. Local government is responsible for developing a capability and capacity to provide mass care services for its citizens and should be prepared, if necessary, to receive and care for people evacuated from an area directly impacted by a disaster. The requirements for services vary depending upon the nature and phase of the emergency.