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FEMA Common FAQ

The items can be used to "shelter-in-place," creating a room with reduced air infiltration of chemical agents into an area. They are resistant to permeation from chemical agents.They provide the ability to rapidly exit from a temporary shelter-in-place once the plume has passed. The items are readily available for the general public.

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An 'inside corner' of a building would be any area inside a building and away from windows where two walls meet at a 90 degree angle. This area is considered a safe location to ride out an earthquake if you cannot take cover under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture.

The recommendations Ready.gov provides are intended to be the essential items every individual would need for the first 72 hours after a disaster, weapons are not considered among these items. Citizens are encouraged to customize their kits to accommodate their unique considerations; if you feel such items are necessary for 72 hours after a disaster you should modify your emergency kit accordingly.

You should cover your mouth and nose while seeking shelter, but it should not be relied on as a safety measure in place of getting to shelter immediately. Covering your mouth does not prevent exposure to chemical vapors, however it is effective for smoke and for aerosols (such as would be released in the immediate area of a biological attack). In studies, using a dry folded handkerchief was the most effective filter for particulates or aerosols. Using wet material such as a towel or handkerchief actually reduced the effectiveness or filtering from vapors. In addition, wet materials are more difficult to breathe through. Placing a wet towel at the bottom of a door or window provides no protection against vapors entering a room.

When individuals bottle water themselves, they're more likely to get contaminants in it that could risk harm after years of germination. By switching out personally bottled water more often an individual citizen can ensure that their stock is safe, as opposed to professionally bottle water which is likely packaged in cleaner and lower risk environment. Also, commercial grade plastic is High Density Polly Propylene, are less porous than soda bottles which individual citizens might use for bottling, and are therefore less likely to leach in outside agents.

You do not need to tape drains or faucet openings. However, you should seal around water pipes coming through the wall into the room. This can be done in advance with caulk or other appropriate material to eliminate any air leaks.

DHS recommends using plastic sheeting with a thickness of 4 to 6 mil (0.004 in - 0.006.) or greater. For reference, commercially available sheeting is typically sold at 0.7, 1, 1.2, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 6, and 10 mil.