Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What the Heck is Shelter in Place?

In an emergency, public safety officials (like us) could send a public alert to you to shelter in place. When you get that message, it could mean the difference between life or possibly harm if you don’t know what to do with that message. By definition, it means take immediate shelter where you are. This could be at work, at home, at school or wherever you are. Often times this might mean that there is a chemical or hazardous material that has been released.  Like other emergency situations, it is best to plan ahead. What supplies do you need? Can I let my dog go outside or should I bring him in?

To make this an easier lesson for today, lets assume you’re at home when you get the call to Shelter in Place, follow these suggestions.

  • Bring your family and pets inside immediately
  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers
  • Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems
  • Take your emergency supply kit, and telephones, cell phones, chargers and radio and go to an interior room with few windows, if possible.   Many people prefer this to be a bathroom, for obvious reasons
  • Seal all windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Listen to the radio for additional emergency information
  • Wait for further instructions or an all clear message

Should I seal windows, doors and vents for my shelter in place room prior to an emergency? 

According to, they recommend that you precut plastic sheeting for any windows, doors, vents or opening and label them accordingly. Along with duct tape, the plastic can be stored in the shelter room for quick access and installation.

For more information see some of these following articles.

Shelter in Place: Know How, Know Where

CDC Shelter In Place

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