Frequently Asked Questions
Oakland County, MichiganHomeland SecurityFrequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

​​​​​​​​Please click the "+" sign for answers to frequently asked questions of Oakland County Homeland Security.

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What are shelters?,

​There are several types of shelters. You may be asked to shelter in-place in your home or office if a chemical release has occurred in your area. In-place sheltering means to stay inside, close and seal all doors and windows, shut off ventilation systems. You may also be asked to take shelter in the event of severe weather. If you are outside, move indoors. At home, seek shelter in the basement or on the lowest level and in a small interior room with no windows. In the event of a disaster, you may be asked to go to a shelter that has been set up in your community until it is safe for you to return home.

How do I find temporary shelters?,

​Contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross. In Southeast Michigan, call 1.800.774.6066 or visit

What do I do if I receive suspicious mail?,
Where are hazardous materials sites located?,

​To identify hazardous materials facilities in your area contact your Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) in Oakland County at 248.858.5371 or email to

Is there any financial assistance available for flood damage?,

​Probably not unless there is wide-spread damage. Federal flood insurance is only available if you live in a flood plain. Check with your homeowners insurance to find out if you are covered for flooding in your home due to sewer backup, plumbing problems, etc.

Where are emergency sirens located?,

​Municipalities, through a cost share program with Oakland County, purchase sirens and determine their locations. Many municipalities in Oakland County do not have full siren coverage. To determine if there are sirens in your area, please call 248.858.1593.

How can I protect my family in an emergency?,

​Don't wait for a disaster to hit, be prepared. See Family Disaster PlanningSheltering In-Place, Chemicals in your Home and Major Chemical Emergencies.

What do I do when a tornado strikes or when high winds cause damage?,

​Be sure the storm has passed before you leave your shelter and use extreme caution in all that you do.

  • Check for injured or missing people. Don't move anyone who is seriously injured.
  • Use a flashlight, not matches or lanterns, to check for a gas leak.
  • Don't use your phone--if necessary, call 9-1-1 from a neighbors.
  • Don't use electricity if you suspect damaged or wet wiring, or a gas leak.
  • Shut off utilities.
  • Check outside your home for structural damage.
  • Stay away from downed power lines.
  • Wait for help to arrive.

Who do I call if I see a tornado?,

​Safety is your first priority. Take shelter immediately. If possible, call Oakland County Homeland Security Division at 248.858.5300 (24-hour). Identify yourself, give location and, if possible, direction of tornado. Do not call police, fire or the news media.

Who do I call if I see a suspicious activity involving hazardous materials?,

​Report suspicious activity to your local fire department.

How will I know if it's a test or a real tornado warning?,

​Oakland County tests its Outdoor Warning Siren system on the first Saturday of the month at 1:00 PM. See Siren Test Schedule for exceptions. The test will be cancelled if the potential exists for severe weather (for more information, see Early Weather Warning program). Therefore, if you hear the sirens, and its not the first Saturday of the month, take cover immediately.  If it is the first Saturday of the month and the sky looks threatening, take cover immediately.

How do I report suspicious activity?,

If You See Something Say Something.  Report suspicious activity to local law enforcement or call 9-1-1 in case of an emergency.  You may also report suspicious activity to the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center (MIOC) at 1.855.MICH-TIP (855.642.4847) or on-line at