In the event of an emergency in Maple Plain or Independence you should be aware of two key terms you might be asked to perform by law enforcement or fire departments to protect yourself and others. Those terms are “Shelter in Place” and “Evacuate”. You may be asked to perform one of these two tasks for natural disasters such as a tornado, wind events, a winter storm or a biological disaster where hazardous materials are released into the atmosphere from a train derailment or a chemical spill on a county, state or local road.

If you are requested to Shelter in Place or Evacuate it will be broadcasted on local media stations, radio stations and sent directly you by our emergency notification system called CodeRed.  If you have not yet signed up for CodeRed I would encourage you to sign up now.

Shelter in Place is a term used to go indoors and stay there. This is a precaution aimed to keep you safe while remaining indoors. This includes if you are at home, work, or at school.

What exactly should you do if told to Shelter in Place?

  • Go indoors and stay inside
  • Close all outside doors and windows
  • When requested turn off all air conditioning, furnaces, fireplaces or ventilation devices that might draw in outside contaminated air
  • If possible go to your basement and bring a radio devices or cell phone with you
  • Listen to your radio or television to get further instructions
  • Do not leave you shelter or evacuate unless told to do so
  • Keep family and pets inside
  • While sheltering in place begin to prepare evacuation items for you, your family, and any pets you may have


What exactly should you do if you are told to Evacuate your home due to an emergency?

  • First,  don’t panic and second follow instructions given by emergency managers
  • You will have time to pack a few items and secure your home as if you were going on vacation, unless advised otherwise.
  • Plan on leaving your home for three days or less
  • Close all doors and windows and lock your home
  • Place a note of your front door stating you have evacuated and include your name and cell phone number or an emergency contact number for emergency personnel.

 What should I take if I have been asked to evacuate?

  • Cash, credit cards, checkbooks and your identification such as a driver license or state ID, and insurance cards
  • Prescription medication
  • Cell phone and cell phone charging cords, computers or other tablets
  • Baby formula and diapers
  • Two changes of clothing per person, including jackets, boots, gloves
  • Pillows, sleeping bags, and personal hygiene items including towels
  • Household pets, leashes, cages, water dish and pet food
  • Snacks, water, and other minor food supplies
  • Flashlight and batteries

 Where do I go after I evacuate?

  • You will be instructed to register at a reception center to confirm you have evacuated
  •  A reception center location will be announced prior to you evacuating
  • You are encouraged to stay with friends or relatives outside of the affected area
  • You can also stay at an emergency shelter provided by emergency managers and the American Red Cross

 By educating our citizens on what to expect in an emergency notification we can ease the stress of the emergency through preparation. By working together, planning for emergencies we can protect lives and property.  

EMERGENCY Management and Preparedness

Serving The Cities of Independence and Maple Plain

West Hennepin Public Safety Department