Fallout Shelter Operational Guidelines

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1. Scope

a. This guidance is limited primarily to those functions related to the reception of people at the shelter facility, their protection and care, up to the time of departure from the shelter into the post-disaster environment.
b. This guidance will include management, communication, radiological monitoring, safety, supply and maintenance, feeding, sleeping, health, sanitation, information and training.

2. Organization

a. For effective organization control each county is to the sub-divided into twelve shelter complex areas.
b. The number of shelter managers and assistances necessary to direct and control shelter operations will vary considerably, depending upon the shelter, the availability and competency of the shelter leadership and the environment.

3. Staffing

a. Shelter managers will be primarily composed of usCrow Shelter Managers if available or volunteers, who shall be appointed by the Civil Defense Force Director of Emergency Management, upon the recommendation of the Civil Militarized Forces Commanders.
b. Staff assistance and Unit Leaders will be appointed by the Shelter Managers from available shelter population.
c. Shelter Complex Managers will maintain a current roster of each shelter staff within their respective area. Where shelters lack necessary management personnel, such personnel will be assigned during a period of increased tension, should one occur, or will be recruited from shelter occupants by Shelter Complex Managers if necessary.

4. Duties and Responsibilities

a. Shelter managers will functions as an extension of the Civil Defense Force within the shelter and will supervise shelter operations until organized unites of the Civil Defense Force can resume direction within each state’s county’s recovery efforts.
b. Primary responsibility for shelter operations will be exercised by the Shelter Complex Area Headquarters. Under the control of the Civil Defense Force Director of Emergency Management.
c. Entry into shelters shell be expedited in an orderly manner. Shelter inhabitants shall be permitted to bring into the shelter only those items which would increase shelter habitability and create no extra management problems.
d. Special health foods and medicines should be retained by the shelter inhabitants unless it is desirable to turn them over to the shelter management for safekeeping. General purpose items will be turned into general supply for later reissue under key rationing guidelines established on shelter population.
e. Each Shelter Manager shall be the final authority in Shelter Policy and Operations within their respective shelters that does not deviate from the usCrow Code of Conduct and ethical guidelines.
f. Each inhabitant will be registered, data secured will include the following;

i. Family name and given names, age, sex, marital status and home address of family members in the shelter.
ii. Disability, special dietary requirements, illness or injury requiring medical care or treatment.
iii. Names of absent members of the immediate family and their probable location. (This information will be used for locating missing or separated family members during the post-shelter period by usCrow CMF Recovery Specialists)
iv. A complete schedule for shelter activities will be established.
v. A 24 hour watch and shelter log will be maintained.
vi. Smoking and the use of narcotics will be controlled, and prohibited if deemed necessary.
vii. Food and water inventory, preparation and distribution shall be closely controlled by the management.
viii. Health, sanitation and safety rules shall be enforces.

5. Shelter Operations

a. Certain task functions, must be accomplished during the in-shelter phase. The more importance functions are as defined herein:

i. Atmosphere and Temperature Control – A livable environment must be maintained during the shelter occupancy period. Effective temperature is a composite measure of temperature, humidity, and air movement. At a given effective temperature with sufficient air movement, the environment might be quite comfortable. However, with no perceptible air movement and high humidity, the same effective temperature would be considerably uncomfortable. If body temperatures rise, about two degrees above normal, action will be taken to relieve the situation through air exchange or by moving all or part of the sheltered group to another part of the building for a short period. Similar action should be taken whenever it appears that there is a build-up of excess amounts of carbon dioxide. This can be assumed if a numbers of persons complain of shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea which cannot readily be attributed to other aspects of shelter environment.

ii. Radiological Defense – Shelter radiation kits have been stocked in most of the DARA Shelters. Where possible, radiological monitors have been assigned to shelters. Instructions for maintenance and operation of the radiological monitoring instruments are located inside each kit. There is a little need for elaborate decontamination supplies and equipment in shelters. Simple procedures to brush or wash away, radioactive fallout particles should suffice, detailed decontamination procedures are contained in the radiological monitoring handbook stocked with each shelter monitoring kit. If trained monitors are not available in the shelter, directions in the “Handbook for Radiological Monitors” will enable the untrained person to perform most of the radiological monitoring operations.

iii. Communications – When telephones are available and operable, their use will be limited to the contact of Shelter Complex Directors or local Operations Centers. Messages for dispatch will be limited to those authorized by the shelter manager. Messages should be limited to emergency reports, information and requests, and contact will be maintained only with the Shelter Complex local headquarters.

iv. Safety – Shelter safety operations include: Fire prevention and control, maintenance of order, enforcement of shelter rules, and emergency escape and rescue.

1. Fire Prevention Measures – All available fire fighting equipment should be collected from all parts of the building. Fire fighting operations should by directed by trained fire department personnel whenever they are available. Preventions and training measures should include:

a. Instruction in fire prevention and fire fighting procedures
b. Control of smoking
c. Instructions concerning potential fire hazards such as combustible materials, faulty electrical equipment, wiring, outlets and switches.
d. Removal of hazardous combustibles and repair or neutralization of faulty electrical equipment and wiring.
e. Establishment of a 24-hour fire watch and frequent inspection of the shelter.

2. Fire Control Measures – Extinguish wood, paper, cloth or rubbish fires with water or sand. Electric current should be turned off immediately when a fire originates from such a source. The fire may then be fought with sand or dry chemical extinguishers.

Extinguishers with a vaporizing liquid such as carbon tetrachloride and chlorobromethane give off toxic fumes and must not be used in the shelter. If extinguishers of this type are found in the shelter, they should be removed or measures taken to assure their proper use. Determine the cause of any fire which might occur and bring it to the attention of the shelter population in order to prevent a re-occurrence.

v. Maintenance of Order: Primary responsibility for maintaining law and order throughout the county during the in-shelter phase, as during all phases of Civil Defense emergency, will rest will CDF trained policing assets. However, while in-shelter police personnel will support the shelter manager, who is the official representative of the CMF. Wherever possible, a shelter security team should be established by the shelter manager, manned by CMF personnel if available. In most cases, movement control police will be able to assume in-shelter duties upon completion of the population’s movement to shelter. CMF Personnel who were deployed for movement operations will in effect follow the population into shelters.

vi. In shelter CMF Police Functions include but are not limited :

1. Protecting life and property.
2. Providing for the detention of persons who have committed serious crimes until transfer to an appropriate facility is possible. The Geneva policies do not apply to policing functions in a national emergency.
3. Enforcing rules and regulation.
4. Preventing unauthorized exit from shelter.
5. Moving people out of shelter at the termination of the shelter period.
6. If qualified personnel are not available, other trained citizens should be assigned to secure the safety of the shelter.
a. Procedures should be established to:
i. Delineate areas for community groups, sick bay, administrative supply, and etc..
ii. Enforce shelter rules and acceptable standards of individual and group conduct.
7. Personal possessions, such as flammable materials, electrical appliances, and easily spoiled foods will be disposed of, or secured by shelter management. Disturbances, conflicts and disorders may be prevented or minimized by:

a. Periodic checks to prevent waste of food, water, or other supplies.
b. Regular patrolling, particularly in large and multi-room shelters.
c. Immediate and forceful corrective action, particularly in the case of serious violations such as assaults, revolt against authority.
d. Keeping the sheltered population informed of existing conditions.

8. Emergency Escape and Rescue: Whenever fire, structural weakness or collapse, or other conditions threaten the safety of the sheltered population. Safety personnel will be prepared to direct this movement. CMF or Shelter HQ will be notified if such action is required.
9. If the evacuation of the shelter becomes necessary:

a. Persons will be directed to the best available fall out protections. Exits, routes and destination must be clearly defined and announced.
b. In the event that a shelter will be uninhabitable permanently, persons will be directed to take with them whatever supplies they can carry. If the evacuation is likely to be temporary, persons will be directed to the best available fallout protection in the vicinity until conditions can be corrected and the shelter safely reoccupied.
c. Persons subjected to radioactive fallout, outer garments will be discarded or thoroughly shaken or brushed in a covered location as far from the shelter area as possible. If shower facilities are available and usable, and there is an adequate supply of water for this purpose, persons requiring decontamination should use these facilities, accompanied by adequate ingestion of sodium iodide radiation tablets.
d. Rescue work will be primarily directed toward unblocking exits, releasing persons trapped within the shelter, shoring and reinforcing the shelter, or providing emergency escape exits if regular exits are not usable.


1. Basic stocks of food, water, medical, sanitation and radiologic supplies are normally provided in official DARA shelters. If a shelter is not provisioned, supplies may be available elsewhere.
2. Equipment and supplies for the shelter will be inventoried and safeguarded. Items brought into the shelter and which contribute to the welfare of the shelter population will be pulled with the shelter supplies.
3. Special health foods, medicines, and other personal items should be retained by individuals unless it is desirable to turn them over to management for storage and safekeeping. Supplies which are to be retained under central storage, should be collected during shelter entry or as soon thereafter as possible.
4. Food, water, medical supplies, instruments and tools will be kept under surveillance and should be issued only to the appropriate shelter leaders and not directly to individuals. Strict controls will be maintained to minimize waste and to assure equitable distribution of available supplies.
5. Daily status reports will be made to the shelter manager to determine the need for any changes in distribution procedures. This report will include the amount of each items on hand, the amount used, the amount remaining at the end of the day, and the length of time the supply should last at the current usage rate.

viii. Medical and Sanitation

1. To assure the most effective use of the medical and sanitation shelter kits, it is essential that procedures be established for their use. These procedures should be developed and prescribed jointly by those persons responsible for directing medical and sanitation operations and those responsible for security of shelter supplies. Medical and sanitation operations will include:

a. Establishment and Operation of a Sick Bay: As soon as possible after shelter entry operations begin, the shelter manager will direct the establishment of a sick bay in an isolated area of the shelter, if possible. He may institute a daily sick call schedule to provide for the less urgent needs of the shelter population. Selected persons may be recruited from the shelter population to assist medical personnel in such tasks as setting up cots, cleaning equipment, preparing splints and the like.
b. Establishment and Maintenance of Sanitation Standards:

i. Sanitation Standards: One of the more important tasks of shelter management will be to maintain the general health level of the sheltered population, with the limited amount of medical and sanitation supplies and the closely contained shelter environment. There is always the threat of spreading contagious diseases. Preventive sanitation measures are mandatory. Instruction in basic hygiene should be included in the in-shelter training program.

ii. Toilet Areas: Sanitation kit toilets should be set up in the corners of relatively isolated sections of the shelter. If possible, there should be separate facilities for men and women. When using these facilities, children under six years of age should be accompanied by an adult in order to maintain cleanliness and avoid accidents. Existing sanitary facilities may be used if damage to community sewerage and water systems does not prevent it. Shelter managers should direct sanitation personnel to make regular inspections of toilet facilities, supervise the disposal of filled waste containers, and set up empty commodes. If possible, filled commodes should be moved to a separate room or to the most isolated section of the shelter until they can be moved outside. Shelter floors should be kept clean of waste material. If required, sanitation personnel should request assistance from law enforcement personnel should request assistance from law enforcement personnel in enforcing sanitation regulations.

iii. Handling of the Dead: Bodies of persons who die in the shelter should be moved away from the occupied portion of the shelter and be placed in unused rooms, upper floors, or outside the shelter for later removal. If at all possible, and with the consent of relatives cremation of corpses should be utilized. However, consent is not required if deemed medically threatening.

ix. Feeding

1. Although healthy persons can do without food for a considerable length of time, however, a food supply of each shelter is important to permit people to meet the demands of shelter living.

a. Basic Food Rations: The food ration provided for DARA shelters consists of approximately 10,000 calories of food per shelter space. The food consists of items listed within 23 survival bunker items.
b. Special Foods: Special food brought into the shelter should not require cooking. Temperature of food will soon equal the temperature of the shelter. It may be desirable to turn over personal stocks of special foods to shelter management for safekeeping.
c. Conservation of Food and Water: Conservation of food and water will require strict control of distribution and a continual campaign against waste. Until the fallout situation can be assessed, the first day’s ration will consist of 750 calories of food and one quart of water per person. Adjustments will be made to increase or decrease this ration when the fallout situation and probable duration of shelter stay has been determined. Persons will not be given more food than they can consume at a given time.
d. Scheduling Meals: Even if the food supplies are very limited, it is desirable to serve meals on a regular schedule. It is recommended that shelter management try to distribute five or six servings throughout the day in conjunction with serving of water. This may take the form of (1) five to six equal meal servings throughout the day, or (2) three larger servings at hours corresponding to normal mealtimes and two or three similar amounts between meals mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and before lights out. Space consideration will dictate where people are fed, as shelters will be too crowded to provide separate eating areas, where CDF supplied food rations are the only food provided, there is no need for separate feeding areas.
e. The food ration will be based on a daily amount of calories as determined by shelter management.

x. Sleeping Spaces

1. Sleeping arrangements in public shelters while austere, must be carefully considered and planned. The CDF provisions placed in shelters do not include sleeping equipment. The sheltered population must sleep on the floor, using their personal effects as padding or covering. Floor pads may be made by utilizing empty fiberboard food boxes. Blankets, air mattresses or portable cots should be allowed inside the shelter if there is enough space. Shelter management will not interfere with personal use of these items unless they are urgently needed for sick or infirm, or if they create a moral problem.

a. Sleeping Space: It is the responsibility of the shelter manager to plan and allocate space to provide the most comfortable and manageable sleeping arrangements. The most compact and sanitary sleeping arrangement is head to foot sleeping. Within groups, persons should be separated on the basis of sex, age, and marital status. Single men may be separated from single women by the simple expedient of placing the men at one end of the sleeping area and women at the other, with family groups in-between.

b. Bedding: Clothing may have to serve as bedding in the absence of blankets. Persons should be encouraged to lend their extra clothing to those in need.

c. Sleeping Hours: If only a single open space is available, all people will observe the same sleeping hours. The lowest possible noise and light levels should be enforced during the period.

xi. Information, Training, Recreation, and Religious Activities.

1. Information and Training: The success of the shelter management will largely depend upon the cooperation, understanding, and support of the sheltered population. This response can best be obtained by keeping the people informed concerning the situation within the shelter and when appropriate and known, the Nation, State and Local situation. Shelter management is responsible for training the sheltered population in such areas as; shelter rules, regulations, and safety precautions, responsibilities of shelter management and the shelter population, the probable post-attack environment and recovery plans, and acceptable attitudes and relationships.

2. Recreation: A diversified recreation program, appropriate to both sexes and all age groups, is desirable. Preferences of the sheltered population should be discouraged in order not to raise the temperature of the shelter and to avoid stimulating appetites for food and water. Friendly competition can do much to build morale and make shelter life more tolerable.

3. Religious Activities: It is more important that provision be made for religious activities, a period should be set aside each day for those who wish to worship or hold religious discussions. Regardless of their faith.

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About Administrator Ryan

Administrator Ryan has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Emergency Administration and Management from the University of Kentucky, and has been the primary handler for usCrow.org since it's founding. Professional background includes over a decade's experience in survival and preparedness, graphic design, computer programming, website coding, and asset management. Personal background in mountaineering, climbing, rappelling, combat training, and big game hunting.

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