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#257937 - 03/23/13 05:34 PM Re: Equipped to go to a shelter? [Re: TeacherRO]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
When I'm talking about decontamination and shelters, I'd think that you're going to find a shelter near the decontamination station or that you will be provided with space a segregated shelter that will keep you away from people who didn't need decontamination. By nice men in uniform with automatic weapons who will make sure that none of your possibly contaminated equipment goes with you.

REDACTED


Edited by chaosmagnet (03/23/13 06:38 PM)
Edit Reason: See my previous post in this thread
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#257942 - 03/23/13 06:08 PM Re: Equipped to go to a shelter? [Re: TeacherRO]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1536
If you're just concerned with self-defense in a shelter situation, you don't necessarily have to rely on "obvious" weapons like guns and knives. Some objects that don't look like weapons can be used as weapons, though you will need training to use them effectively. (No, I'm not going to tell you what they might be and how to use them. Communicating the latter in a realistic sense is impossible just in words.) Some practically oriented martial arts schools may be able to help you with it. It may take you several years, though.

I wrote a long paragraph about another solution, but I deleted it, partly because I had to earn this knowledge, and partly because it could be too easily used by people with criminal intent. You never know who's watching on the internet.

Maybe those who have run shelters or been to shelters can answer this question: how much should we worry about personal safety in a shelter? I'm inclined to suspect that theft would be a bigger problem than violence, and that awareness would go a long way. Of course, I haven't been to a shelter.

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#257946 - 03/23/13 07:28 PM Re: Equipped to go to a shelter? [Re: TeacherRO]
LesSnyder Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1679
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
I noticed those that used the aluminum lawn furniture, namely the chaise lounges, stored personal possessions in Rubbermaid type totes, and stored them under the lounge.... the "pros" had small hand trucks to help manage the gear... our evacuees were typically from the same residential area, and most knew each other....

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#257947 - 03/23/13 07:42 PM Re: Equipped to go to a shelter? [Re: ironraven]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Originally Posted By: ironraven
When I'm talking about decontamination and shelters, I'd think that you're going to find a shelter near the decontamination station or that you will be provided with space a segregated shelter that will keep you away from people who didn't need decontamination. By nice men in uniform with automatic weapons who will make sure that none of your possibly contaminated equipment goes with you.

REDACTED


I have no direct experience with sheltering after chemical or radiation exposures, just what I know from the Red Cross plan and study of our county's EM plan: most chemical attacks don't warrant sheltering, folks exposed, treated and decontaminated can generally return to their homes unless those areas remain contaminated or dangerous to re-enter. In dirty bomb scenarios the walking wounded are decontaminated and hospitalized, those who are uninjured can generally go through decontamination and return to their homes as well. Evacuation of contaminated areas involves moving significant number of people away from an area or the path of fallout, and depending on the scenario this means decontaminating people and loading them on buses for transit well away from the contamination zone. A dirty bomb attack in Seattle might not even require a sheltering response by me, but my counterparts in Pierce or Snohomish County to the south and north.

If we did open a shelter to receive evacuees, I expect it will involve a tight protocol of receiving Metro buses at the entrance to the shelter area loaded with decontaminated people. They will be tagged with wristbands, and we'll receive a manifest from the driver or a county, state or federal official, of identification of the people aboard, because most likely their IDs and cell phones and other personal possessions will be collected and discarded during decontamination. We'll usher them in, complete registration, and get them a meal, mental and health services counseling, and connect them with their loved ones - in no particular order. Match them up with replacement clothing, or to supplement the clothing given after decontamination. Assess their short term needs and meet them. That sort of thing. Walk-ins for sheltering would be turned away, or more properly referred to decontamination officials if it appears they came from the area of the disaster. I am fairly certain though that this has never been done in King County, only in mock drills and exercises, which may not have gone past the table top drill in terms of shelter arrangements.

As my wife is fond of saying, "only a prepper would think of that." :-)

On this issue of self-defense in shelters, listen: I'm not sure what you imagine goes on in a shelter environment. First, if you think it is as chaotic as the disaster that landed those people in the shelter, think again. If you imagine that shelters are places of violence and physical attack, you are wrong. If you think there are constant pressures to steal your valuables, it ain't so. If you imagine its a cross between Thunderdome and Attica, you are way off base. Your encounters with others in the shelters are fairly banal - conversation, sharing a bit of intel on the extent of the disaster, status of your family, arriving assistance, and your next steps to get back to where you were before. Regular meals. A shelter dormitory filled with people you wouldn't ordinarily share a bedroom with for sure, but we give everyone an element of space between - and as in any hostel, there will be a snorer or two somewhere that could keep you awake. People arriving and departing at all hours - jobs don't end in disasters, in fact some of your fellow dorm sleepers can lose their jobs if they don't make the midnight shift every night. The cot won't be deluxe, and in certain regions of the country (hurricane area) you aren't guaranteed a cot to sleep on but a pad on the floor. But gangsters won't sully up to you at mealtime and demand your buttered bread or plate of spaghetti. There should be no physical assaults anywhere - although much like the rest of the world, no guarantees I suppose (wood knock). If you have even the inkling of a bad encounter with anyone, staff or client, you can talk to any shelter worker and it will be dealt with and escalated immediately. We are quick to dial 911 at the slightest hint of aggression or medical emergency. If you experience theft, it will be reported up to RC security and local law enforcement may also become involved.

What you should find in a Red Cross shelter is an atmosphere of equality, for starters: everyone receives approximately the same assistance as everyone else. The same meals as each other, except those with dietary needs such as diabetics, gluten free, nut allergies, and religious practices, kosher and halal; the same sleeping arrangements, modulo the number of cots immediately stocked at the site; the same opportunities for assistance, for you to take advantage of, or not; and the same provision of intel about what we know about the disaster and what's being done to assist you to return to where you were before. We hope to foster an environment of mutual respect for and among our clients, and recognition of their dignity. We actually have a whole list of Red Cross values that we incorporate into what we do, and its how we operate shelters. Depending on the size of the shelter population, you'll hear laughter, at least from the children, who either run around having a hey day or are off playing with a volunteer entertaining them with crayons, a video, or a puzzle or game. People sitting around drinking coffee, talking. People taking naps, especially if they work off shift. People just not there during the daytime, because their job still exists or their real job of cleaning up after their disaster has taken over. Far more people in a shelter are out of the shelter working on their recovery, which is good. REDACTED




Edited by chaosmagnet (03/23/13 10:35 PM)
Edit Reason: See my previous post in this thread

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#257951 - 03/23/13 11:25 PM Re: Equipped to go to a shelter? [Re: TeacherRO]
spuds Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/12
Posts: 822
Loc: SoCal Mtns
Im not going unless absolutely dire.I WILL evacuate tho,Im also not going to play Rambo with disasters.

Thank you to the volunteers,well done.

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#257972 - 03/24/13 03:40 PM Re: Equipped to go to a shelter? [Re: TeacherRO]
TeacherRO Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2574
Lono - agreed. Using a shelter - or even awareness of one - is another tool to use.

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#257975 - 03/24/13 04:06 PM Re: Equipped to go to a shelter? [Re: TeacherRO]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL


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Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile

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#257976 - 03/24/13 04:14 PM Re: Equipped to go to a shelter? [Re: Lono]
AKSAR Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1228
Loc: Alaska
Lono,

Thanks for the good info, and thanks for the all the good work the Red Cross does. About the only direct experience I've had with the Red Cross (aside from CPR classes) has been a couple of times they showed up at some major SAR events with food and coffee, which was very much appreciated by all of us volunteers.

So far (knocking on wood) I have never had the need to use a shelter, but it is great to know that they will be available if/when I need one. It is also great to know that they will be well run by people such as yourself. Disasters are by nature unpredicable. A key part of preparation, in my opinion, is being flexibe, adaptable, and open minded. That means being ready to utilize all kinds of resources, if and when and where you need them. Being locked into a particular mind set is not a good survival plan.

I would also encourage everyone on the forum to consider joining or assisting some sort of volunteer organization related to survival. There are lots of opportunties, including the Red Cross, volunteer SAR teams, volunteer fire departments, CERT teams, Boy/Girl Scouts and many others. You will get some useful training, work with a great bunch of like minded people, and contribute to making your community a better place.
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#257977 - 03/24/13 04:21 PM Re: Equipped to go to a shelter? [Re: ILBob]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
I am not going to worry all that much about the weapons policy of a shelter if I am desperate enough to even consider going to one. The key word being desperate. I won't be in any shelter if there is an alternative. They are not places you go for the fun of it. You go because it is a bad choice, but better than the other choices available to you at the time. Sort of like having a gangrenous leg being amputated. A bad choice, but better than becoming a fatality.
_________________________
Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile

Bob

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#257984 - 03/24/13 08:48 PM Re: Equipped to go to a shelter? [Re: AKSAR]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7701
Loc: southern Cal
One of my retirement jobs has been recruiting and training poll workers for major elections. During the last presidential election, one of my steady workers called me and stated that the Rec Cross, for whom she also volunteered, needed her in Washington, D.C. to get ready for Sandy, then threatening NYC; hence she would be unable to participate in our local festivities. And,just like that, she was gone! This incident provided me with just a glimpse of the sort of planning, preparation, and effort that goes into working major disasters - not all of it readily visible. I, for one, am glad we have organizations like the Red Cross, even if they don't put gourmet chocolates on my pillow in a shelter.

One puzzling thing I have encountered about the RC. Fifty years ago, when I was drafted into the Army and serving out my time, I encountered more than a few career soldiers who swore up and down that they would never contribute anything to the RC. Why? That wasn't very clear, but it seemed to have something to do with the RC selling doughnuts and coffee to troops in dire need. Does anyone know more about this? I suspect it is a giant urban legend, but the attitude has always puzzled me....
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