In an emergency, be prepared to ‘Shelter-in-Place’

In an emergency where hazardous contaminants are released into the atmosphere, you may be told to shelter-in-place. Shelter-in-place is a precaution aimed to keep you safe and indoors. Be prepared for this situation.

First, identify the best area to shelter-in-place. When identifying a shelter-in-place area it should meet the following criteria:

•Select a room(s) large enough to provide at least 10 square feet per person sheltered with as few windows, vents and doors as possible. 

•Select the most interior room in the facility.

•The room should have required supplies so they are easily accessible in or very close to the selected shelter area.

•The shelter room should have a telephone (either regular or

•The shelter room should have an accessible fire extinguisher. Break rooms or conference rooms with a few or no windows can be used for shelters.  

•Hallways sometimes used in institutional settings, must be approved through Civil Engineer Readiness.

If, at any point you have the following symptoms or indications showing there may have been a release to initiate shelter-in-place, contact the local authorities as soon as possible, dial 1-1-2. 

Indications are: an unusual smell or sound, such as an explosion; visible smoke; fire or a vapor cloud; skin or eye irritation; and breathing difficulty.

Create a Shelter-In-Place kit:
Your shelter kit should include the following:

•Pre-cut plastic sheeting to fit over any windows or vents in the sheltering area
•Rolls of duct tape to be used to secure the plastic over windows/vents and to seal doors

•A form of communication to stay advised

•Flashlight and fresh batteries

•If needed, enough towels to block the bottoms of each door in the room

•Water source to wet the towels for sealing door bottoms and for drinking

•First aid kit