Emergency In-place Sheltering

Shelter in Place

Shelter in Place: It's what to do if a dangerous chemical or biological agent is ever released in your neighborhood.

The world we live in today is an industrial one. We make, move and use products created from chemicals that can be hazardous to humans. As a result, there is a remote possibility that a hazardous chemical could be spilled during a train derailment, a freeway accident or a manufacturing accident. A hazardous chemical could be a solid, a liquid or a gas. That means that you might not be able to see or smell anything. Still, it can be quite dangerous.

Notification of Emergency

How do you tell if there is a hazardous chemical emergency? Most often, you will be notified by the local authorities. You should take action if you notice any of the following:

  • An unusual smell or sound, such as an explosion
  • Visible smoke, fire or a vapor cloud
  • Skin or eye irritation
  • Breathing difficulty

How to Shelter in Place

If a hazardous chemical emergency occurs in your neighborhood, the most important thing to remember is to take action quickly. During a hazardous chemical emergency you should go inside and stay put. This procedure is called Shelter In Place. You should use a single room like the master bedroom for your shelter. Make sure you choose an area that has a telephone, water, a toilet and someplace you can seal off easily. A bedroom is an excellent choice.

Follow these basic steps to shelter in place:

  • Go inside immediately.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors.
  • Turn off any heating or cooling systems and close fireplace dampers.
  • Go into and seal a room.
  • Listen to a radio or TV. Wait for the all clear.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth if necessary.

Download the Shelter in Place Brochure

For more information on Shelter in Place, please download the Shelter in Place Brochure (PDF).

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