What is shelter?

The simplest shelters are basements and semi-basements, underground parking lots, and underpasses. They can hide during short shelling. The safest of them are those with several exits (one of them outside the house).

Such premises are usually used as shops, gyms, warehouses, etc. Owners need to be aware of emergency appointments and be prepared to give people access if necessary. We recommend that you arrange contact with the owners in advance (get phone numbers). Residents of cities with subways can also hide on station platforms or underpasses.

Please note that the subway will primarily operate as public transport to get people to a safe place in the event of an emergency. Therefore, if you go to the station, do not expect to stay there: you may be transported to another place.

The shelter is a sealed structure for an extended stay of people in case of emergency.

To find such premises look for “Shelter” or “Civil Protection Object” signs. There must also be a telephone number of the person who will open the shelter door in case of danger. If not, contact your local authority for information.

To prepare, we recommend:

  • Check the addresses of the nearest shelters by phone or on the official website of the local executive body;
  • Write 2-3 addresses of the shelters closest to you in case the first shelter you come to is full;
  • Study and pass the route to these buildings in advance;
  • Personally check their readiness and inform the local authorities if the shelter needs repairs.

To prepare, we recommend that you

  • clarify the addresses of the nearest shelters by phone or on the official website of the local authority
  • write down 2-3 addresses of the nearest shelters in case the first shelter you come to is full
  • study beforehand and walk the route to these buildings
  • personally check their readiness and inform the local authorities if the shelter needs repairs

All citizens of Ukraine have the right to civil protection. Everyone can go to a shelter in any city or building. If a shelter is on the map of shelters, anyone has the right to take cover there.

A siren sounds but the shelter is closed. How to stay safe?

  • Quickly try to contact the owner of the shelter and ask them to open the door.
  • Quickly figure out where else there is a place to hide nearby. It can be the subway, ground floors and basements of buildings, underground parkings, or underpasses. 
  • If you are outside and have nowhere to hide and you hear explosions, immediately lie down on the ground and cover your head with your hands. Any ledge, even a sidewalk, a ditch, a concrete trash can, or steps can be a protection.

If you find a locked shelter during an alert

  • Record it on a photo or video.
  • Call the police (number 102) or rescuers (number 101).
  • When the threat has passed, contact the district state administration.
  • The administration is obliged to record your appeal and contact the owner of the shelter. Shelter must be properly maintained and opened during each air alert.

The subway as a shelter

In wartime, underground metro stations of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, as well as underground high-speed tram stations in Kryvyi Rih serve as shelters. You can get into the underground shelter 24 hours a day. In particular, during the curfew.

In Kyiv, during an air raid siren, entry is free — only through manually controlled turnstiles. To enter the lobby during curfew hours, call the police officer on duty. To do this, call the number located at the entrance to the subway or press the bell in the lobby near the subway entrance. The law enforcement officers will organize a passage to the shelter.

In Kharkiv, Dnipro and Kryvyi Rih, the stations are open 24 hours a day. In Dnipro metro, rooms for service personnel are being opened for mothers with children. It’s warmer there than on the station platforms, and there are showers. To get there, ask a subway employee.

Important! Documents can be checked in shelters at metro stations, so it is essential to have your ID with you. 

Do not leave the vault until the air raid siren is stopped.

What to do when you hear sirens

The “Attention to all” signal is a long siren sound or intermittent beeps. The beeps of factories and enterprises give the signal through loudspeakers on the streets and the beeps of vehicles (in particular, from SES vehicles equipped with loudspeakers).

  • Turn on the TV or radio: the official message is transmitted within 5 minutes after the signal.
  • From the message, you can find out the place and time of the emergency, its scale, probable duration, and procedure for security. After listening to the message, follow the instructions.
  • Leave the TV or radio on – these channels may receive the following messages.
  • If possible, pass the message to the neighbors.

Air raid siren in an educational institution: how parents, students and teachers are to act

Both the parents and the educational institution, when the child is in it, are responsible for the life and health of the child. According to the information of the educational ombudsman, in Ukraine during air raid sirens there are cases when, guided by the desire to protect the schoolchild, parents, on the contrary, can expose the child to danger. In particular, they try to take them from school during an air raid siren.

In addition, there are cases when the directorate of an educational institution puts the lives of employees at risk: for example, calls them to work during an air raid siren.

To avoid such situations and stay safe during an air raid siren, follow these tips. 

Plan of action for parents and employees of educational institutions during the siren

  • If the siren caught you on the way to school or kindergarten, employees, children and parents should urgently go to the nearest shelter.

  • If the siren sounds during the acceptance/arrival of children at the educational institution, children, together with the employees, urgently go to the shelter of the school or kindergarten. If the capacity of the shelter allows, then in agreement with the administration of the institution, parents also go with them.

  • If parents and their child are on their way to school during an air raid siren and to get there they need no longer than 5 minutes, they quickly go to the school shelter. However, it is worth taking into consideration the instructions of the local authorities, because in some settlements it is necessary to reach the shelter in 2-3 minutes. 

    If it is not possible to reach the institution and take shelter in it during this time, the parents and the child go to the nearest shelter. As, when this period has passed, the educational institution will no longer accept children until the announcement of the signal “Repulse of the air raid siren”.

  • Whether studies continue after the repulse of the siren or whether it is transferred to a distance or mixed format is decided by the educational institution, following the recommendations of local educational administrations, local authorities, military administrations. The school administration must notify parents and students about the plan of action and continuation of education.

If a child is in the shelter of an educational institution during an air raid siren, parents can only pick them up after the signal “Repulse of an air raid siren” has been received. Teachers do not have the right to hand over the child to the parents earlier. 

In addition, it is against the law to require employees of the institution to come to the educational institution during an air raid siren. At the same time, if an air siren catches an employee on the way to work, and he is able to reach the educational institution in 5-7 minutes, he can move to the shelter of the educational institution. But it is worth taking into account the location of the educational institution (in some regions it is necessary to get to the shelter in 2-3 minutes). If there is no shelter in the educational institution, then the employee must go to the nearest shelter at his place of stay.

How should employees of an educational institution act during an air raid siren at a school: the algorithm of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine

  1. A responsible person, assigned in advance or at the place, activates the facility’s alarm system in case of an air raid siren signal.
  2. The teacher immediately notifies the students (verbally) of the possible threat and termination of the lesson. 
  3. The person in charge, together with teachers, coordinates the transition of students and staff to the shelter. 
  4. Classes are organized for evacuation in two rows in the classroom. If there is not enough space, children go out in groups. Younger classes (1st or 2nd classes) must be provided with assistants. 
  5. A medical worker must be in a designated place for emergency care for children and adults, if it is needed.
  6. Inside the shelter, the responsible people make sure that the students take their places quickly and carefully. Then they check whether everyone is in place.
  7. While in the shelter, teachers should take measures to calm the children and everyone there.

How schools should prepare for air raid sirens

  1. The head of the institution must issue an order or mandate on how the institution will operate during an air raid siren and make it public to parents in advance. 
  2. It is desirable to create a single channel of communication in the educational institution between the institution’s management, teachers and parents in order to have operational information about the situation (group or chat in one of the messengers).
  3. The school management must notify parents in advance where the shelter is located so that they know where they can pick up their child after the air raid siren is over. In particular, in case the Internet and mobile network disappear during the siren.

How parents and children should prepare for air raid sirens during school period 

UNICEF and Kyiv Department of Education and Science provide the following advice on preparing for the threat of an air raid siren: 

  1. Join the communication channel with teachers, school management and other parents.
  2. Give the management of the institution your contacts and the contacts of those who can pick up the child from school instead of you. 
  3. Inform the health worker about the details of the child’s health condition and peculiarities, if any. 
  4. Make sure that the child knows his Rh factor and blood type, his chronic diseases, if any.
  5. Plan a safe route with your child to and from school, where there must be shelters that the child can use along the way in case of an air raid siren. Explain to the child that he should move only according to the prepared route, no stops and no turns anywhere.
  6. If the child is unable to get to school or home quickly, in case of an air raid siren he must go to the shelter appointed by you and stay inside until the siren stops.
  7. Teach the child not to touch bare electrical wires, unknown objects, talk about mine safety rules.
  8. Have a conversation with your child that he must inform you about his location during an air raid siren as soon as he reaches the shelter.
  9. If the siren catches the child on the way to school and he is not in the school shelter, tell the teacher which shelter he is in. 

For employees of educational institutions, we offer a song to reduce the level of anxiety during sirens. Teach children these movements, which are used by experts in working with psychotrauma. We recommend singing the song while going to a shelter or a safe place and, if possible, repeating the suggested movements.

Rules of stay in the shelter

Before going to the shelter, shut off gas, electricity, and water at home, close windows and vents.

If you can’t leave the room on your own, tell your neighbors about it.

You can’t take to the shelter:

  • flammable substances;
  • substances with a strong odor;
  • bulky items;
  • animals.

Persons with children are placed in separate compartments.

People with ill health are placed in a medical room or near enclosing structures and closer to ventilation. Therefore, it is essential to equip a separate room for the toilet.

It is forbidden to smoke, make noise, light candles in the building without permission. Therefore, it is necessary to adhere to discipline and move as little as possible.

While in the shelter, watch the announcements on the radio, do not leave the shelter until the message that it is safe to go. You can leave the room earlier only if the shelter is damaged.

Important information for the media, bloggers and all citizens who photograph or write about war and the army

According to the ORDER of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, GENERAL VALERY ZALUZHNY:

What is categorically prohibited to be covered by the mass media during wartime:

  • names of bases and subdivisions, as well as their locations

  • the number of soldiers in bases and units

  • the number of weapons and equipment, their condition and place of storage

  • conditional marks of objects

Any information about:

  •  operations carried out or planned

  • system of protection and defense of military units

  • available military protection such as: weapons and equipment(except visible or obviously expressed)

  • procedure for engaging forces (military) and facilities (weapons)

  • intelligence gathering

  • movement and deployment of troops (names, numbers, routes)

  • military units and their tactics, methods of action

  • unique operations and their execution methods

  • the effectiveness of the enemy’s electronic warfare

  • postponed or canceled operations

  • missing or crashed aircraft, ship and search and rescue operations

  • plans for the security of our troops (disinformation, camouflage, countermeasures)

  • informational and psychological operations carried out or planned

  • propaganda or justification of russia’s large-scale armed aggression against Ukraine.

Do not post on social media:

  • consequences of hits by enemy’s missiles or projectiles or moments of their flight in the sky. By doing so you will help the enemy to adjust the fire.

  • time and place of “hits” (neither in publications nor in comments)

  • information about the work of the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces

  • a photo showing numbers, special markings and markings on destroyed or downed enemy equipment.

  • unverified information about victims or dead.

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