Shelter-in-place is a “remain indoors” option that will be exercised when an evacuation cannot be performed without exposing evacuees to the airborne chemical hazard. For short-term releases where the airborne cloud will move past the area quickly, the shelter-in-place techniques provide the most prudent course of action. Vulnerable populations may sustain more injury during evacuation than they would if they had stayed inside. Evacuations are also more time-consuming, and there may not be enough time for a safe evacuation. If the emergency is a hazardous chemical release, make sure you’re inside and listen to the radio for instructions. The local authorities will instruct you to either evacuate or to perform shelter-in-place procedures.
Prior to a hazardous release, each business should evaluate if it has adequate facilities and/or space to shelter-in-place each employee. If not, arrangements should be made with a neighboring business so that employees may shelter-in-place there.
☐ Prepare and maintain a Shelter-in-Place emergency kit.
☐ Close all doors to the outside and lock all windows.
☐ Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels and those gaps around doorways and windows with duct tape.
☐ All ventilation systems should be set to 100% re-circulation so that no outside air is drawn into the structure, or ventilation systems should be turned off.
☐ Turn off all heating systems and air conditioners.
☐ Seal any gaps around window-type air conditioners, bathroom exhaust fan grilles, range vents, dryer vents, etc., with tape and plastic sheeting, wax paper or aluminum wrap.
☐ Turn off and cover all exhaust fans in kitchens, bathrooms, and other spaces.
☐ Close all fireplace dampers.
☐ Close as many internal doors as possible.
☐ Go into one room and seal it off.
- If any of this room’s walls are exterior walls, cover the electrical outlets with duct tape. If you must use the covered outlets, push the plug through the tape.
☐ If an outdoor explosion is possible, close drapes, curtains and shades over windows. Stay away from windows to prevent potential injury from flying glass.
☐ If you suspect that the gas or vapor has entered the structure you are in, hold a wet cloth over your nose and mouth.
☐ Keep your radio or television tuned to the EAS channel for additional information and the “All-Clear.”
☐ After the “All-Clear” is given, open up the shelter/house and turn on fans to clear area or any vapors that may have gotten in.