Shelter in Place

Shelter in place is the practice of going or remaining indoors during the release of an airborne hazardous material or other situation, as opposed to evacuating the area.

Things to do to shelter in place:

  • Go indoors and stay there
  • Close all outside doors and every door inside the building
  • Close all windows
  • Do not use bathroom vents or kitchen vents
  • Set thermostats so air conditioners, furnaces and hot water heaters will not come on

Do not use fireplaces. Close all dampers

  • Do not operate clothes dryer
  • Shelter in an inside room away from windows and doors if possible
  • Reduce or avoid smoking as it contaminates the air
  • Do not leave the building until told to do so
  • Use the telephone only in the event of an emergency; you may tie up the phone lines
  • Stay tuned to local television or radio for information

Things to do for added protection:

  • Seal the cracks around the doorway with wide tape and a rolled up damp towel at the floor space.
  • If there is a window, tape a piece of plastic over the window to seal it.
  • Be prepared ahead of time by cutting a piece of plastic to the window size and storing it and some tape in your Shelter in Place.

It is imperative you stay indoors, especially if you see a cloud, vapour or smoke from the hazardous material outdoors or you can smell it indoors. You will be safer inside. Stay tuned to local television or radio for information.

Things to do if you are in a vehicle and encounter an airborne hazardous material release:

  • Move away from the “danger area” and avoid visible clouds.
  • Turn on your radio and follow all instructions from emergency services personnel. If it is a flammable material you will be required to shut off your vehicle and evacuate the area.
  • Close all windows and air vents. Shut off the heater or air conditioner so that it is not blowing air.
  • In most cases you are safer to drive from the area than to try and wait it out in a vehicle.
  • If you can not drive out of the “danger area,” shut off your vehicle and wait with the radio on. Turn on your hazard lights and use your horn and headlights to attract attention.