Sheltering and rx open

FEMA logo


Sheltering is appropriate when conditions require that you seek protection in your home, where you work or other location when other emergencies arise. The length of time you are required to take shelter may be short, such as during a tornado warning, or during a pandemic. In all cases, it is important that you stay informed and follow the instructions of local authorities. During extended periods of sheltering, you will need to manage water and food supplies to make sure you and your family have what you need to get by.

Shelter at Home

  • Remain indoors as much as possible and try to only leave your home when necessary. You can still use outdoor spaces such as patios, porches and yards.
  • Outdoor activities such as walking, jogging and exercise are fine.
  • Essential services such as grocery shopping, the gas station, pharmacies and going to the Post Office are still fine to do.
  • Limit visitors if possible. Try to use video chatting. Call the people you would normally text.

Sheltering in Place

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released Shelter-in-Place Pictogram Guidance for ten hazards and three building types. The guidance provides recommended interior locations for specific hazards, additional actions for protection, and the recommended duration for staying sheltered-in-place. The ten hazards are:

  • Active Shooter
  • Chemical Hazards
  • Earthquake
  • Flooding/Flash Flooding
  • Hurricane
  • Nuclear/Radiological Hazards
  • Pandemic
  • Thunderstorm
  • Tornado
  • Winter Storm

The three building types are:

  • Manufactured or Mobile Home
  • 1- or 2-Story Buildings
  • Multistory Buildings

Sometimes the best way to stay safe in an emergency is to get inside and stay put inside a building. Where you should stay can be different for different types of emergencies. Be informed about the different kinds of emergencies that could affect your area and ways officials share emergency information.

Mass Care Sheltering

Mass care shelters provide life sustaining services to disaster survivors.  Even though mass care shelters often provide water, food, medicine and basic sanitary facilities, you should plan to take your emergency supply kit with you so you will have the supplies you need. Mass care sheltering can involve living with many people in a confined space, which can be difficult and unpleasant.

  • Check with local officials about what shelter spaces are available.  Coronavirus may have altered your community’s plans.
  • Be prepared to take cleaning items with you like soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes or general household cleaning supplies.

Search for open shelters by texting SHELTER and a ZIP code to 43362. Example: Shelter 01234 (standard rates apply).

HealthCare Ready logo

Rx Open


Rx Open provides information on the operating status of healthcare facilities in areas impacted by a disaster. When the map is active for an event, users can use the Facilities map to search for individual facility status. The Counties map displays a summary of operating status at the county level. Learn more about the Rx Open program from Health Care Ready.


Personalized Medical Wallet Cards are available to create online. Simply fill out the form, print, and store in your wallet. For other medical documentation resources, visit our Preparing for Disasters page.