San Antonio Office of Emergency Management
Plan for Locations

PLAN FOR LOCATIONS

While there are warnings for many types of potential disasters, many emergencies and disasters occur without any warning. Since you can’t predict where you will be for disasters, it is important to have plans and supplies for the locations you and your household go to regularly. Planning ahead will ensure that you and your household will know what to do and have the supplies you need to be safe wherever you are.

Individuals and households should consider the locations they frequent; find out what plans are available for these locations, and customize their personal and household plans based on what household members would do if an emergency occurred while they were at that location. Examples of locations to consider and plan for include:

  • Home
  • Workplace
  • Vehicles
  • Regular methods of transportation such as trains, urban commuter transit
  • School
  • Places of Worship
  • Sports arenas and playing fields
  • Entertainment locations such as theatres
  • Shopping areas such as malls and retail centers
  • Tourist and travel locations such as hotels

Developing plans for different locations will require getting key information about the organization or building managers’ plans for the locations. In some cases if plans are not available, this may involve working with the building manager or other members of the organization to develop or expand plans. Information that should be considered includes:

  • How you and other occupants will get local alert or warnings while you are there
  • Building location alarm or alert systems
  • Building occupant evacuation plans including alternate exits
  • Building or organization plans for sheltering occupants in an emergency
  • Key Supplies you/household members and others would need for temporary sheltering

Planning should also consider how the type of structure or the environments around the structure or location may impact alerts and warnings, shelter and evacuation, and the need for supplies. Examples of considerations for the type of structure or the environment around the location include:

  • Single story vs multi-story or high rise buildings have different types of alarm systems, shelter and evacuation considerations.
  • Urban and rural locations may have different local assumptions and plans for evacuation if large areas are impacted.
  • Buildings like schools, sports arenas, and malls may have different plans for evacuation and shelter depending on the specific building structure and likely safe methods for evacuation or safe locations for shelter for different types of emergencies e.g. tornadoes
  • Outdoor locations likes sports fields or golf courses need specific plans for rapid short-term shelter e.g. for thunderstorms and lightening or tornadoes
  • Geography may be critical for some hazards, e.g. if the area is low and vulnerable to flash flooding
  • Mobile homes, modular structures and other buildings not attached to permanent foundations require planning for evacuation and alternate shelter locations

IN A HIGH-RISE BUILDING

  • Note where the closest emergency exit is.
  • Be sure you know another way out in case your first choice is blocked.
  • Take cover under a desk or table if things are falling.
  • Move away from file cabinets, bookshelves or other things that might fall.
  • Face away from windows and glass.
  • Move away from exterior walls.
  • Determine if you should stay put, shelter-in-place or get away.
  • Listen for and follow instructions.
  • Take your emergency supply kit.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Stay to the right while going down stairwells to allow emergency workers to come up.
  • Review and practice the evacuation plan for your location.

NEIGHBORHOODS, CONDOMINIUMS & APARTMENTS

  • Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together during an emergency.
  • Find out if anyone has specialized equipment like a power generator, or expertise such as medical knowledge, that might help in a crisis.
  • Decide who will check on elderly or disabled neighbors.
  • Make back-up plans for children in case you can't get home in an emergency.
  • Sharing plans and communicating in advance is a good strategy.

SCHOOL & WORKPLACE

Like individuals and families, schools, daycare providers, and workplaces should all have site-specific emergency plans.

Ask about plans at the places where your family spends the most time: work, school and other places you frequent. If none exist, consider volunteering to help develop one. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead, and communicate with others in advance.

For more information on working together, visit Citizen Corps.

QUESTIONS FOR SCHOOLS AND DAYCARES

If you are a parent, or guardian of an elderly or disabled adult, make sure schools and daycare providers have emergency response plans.

Visit Ready Kids for more information.

  • Ask how they will communicate with families during a crisis.
  • Ask if they store adequate food, water and other basic supplies.
  • Find out if they are prepared to "shelter-in-place" if need be, and where they plan to go if they must get away.

For more information on developing emergency preparedness plans for schools, please visit the U.S. Department of Education.

QUESTIONS FOR WORK PLACE

If you are an employer, make sure your workplace has a building evacuation plan that is regularly practiced.

Visit Ready Business for more information.

Take a critical look at your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to determine if it is secure or if it could feasibly be upgraded to better filter potential contaminants, and be sure you know how to turn it off if you need to.

Think about what to do if your employees can't go home.

Make sure you have appropriate supplies on hand.

Read more at Build A Kit and Staying Put. For more information on working together, visit Citizen Corps and our Neighborhoods and Apartments section.

IN A MOVING VEHICLE

  • If there is an explosion or other factor that makes it difficult to control the vehicle, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake.
  • If the emergency could impact the physical stability of the roadway, avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards.
  • If a power line falls on your car you are at risk of electrical shock, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions as they become available.