Shelter in Place

During a hazardous chemical emergency, authorities may ask you to go inside until further notice. This procedure is called "shelter in place." You can use your entire house or only a few rooms. Just make sure you choose an area that has a telephone, water, and toilet. It should also be someplace you can easily seal off.

What to Do
When asked to shelter in place:
  • Immediately go inside and take your pets inside with you.
  • Seal selected shelter in place area so contaminants cannot enter.
    • Close and lock windows and doors.
    • Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels and duct tape.
    • Use duct tape and plastic sheeting, aluminum foil, or wax paper to seal gaps around window and air conditioning units; bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans; and stove and dryer vents.
    • Close fireplace dampers.
    • Close off nonessential rooms.
    • Turn off heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Monitor your radio or television for updated information.
  • Do not make unnecessary phone calls.
  • Stay inside your shelter in place area until you are informed the situation is no longer dangerous.
  • After the "all clear" announcement, open all windows and doors, then go outside until your home has fully aired out.
If you are in your vehicle and unable to go inside:
  • Stay inside your vehicle.
  • Close all windows and vents.
  • Turn the heater and air conditioner completely off.
  • Switch the key to "accessory" and listen to the radio for further instructions.
Hazardous Chemical Accident
If caught at the scene of a hazardous chemical accident:
  • Call 911 to report the nature and location of the accident.
  • Move away from the accident scene.
  • Do not walk into or through any of the spilled substances.
  • Try not to inhale any gases, fumes, or smoke that are present.
  • If possible, cover your mouth with a cloth while leaving the area.