There may be times when you are instructed to “shelter- in-place.” The actions you take will differ depending on the situation. When making your emergency plan, discuss which rooms in your home will be your “safe rooms” for each type of disaster. Different scenarios will require different locations to shelter-in-place. For example, during a tornado warning, you should go to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor.
During a hazardous materials spill or chemical event, you should go to an above ground room, since many chemicals are heavier than air. In all shelter-in-place scenario’s, listen to instructions provided by local authorities if they are available.
When instructed to shelter-in-place:
- Close all doors and windows.
- Turn off ventilation systems (heating and air conditioning) and close fireplace dampers.
- Take your disaster supplies and a radio with you. Go to a room with the fewest doors and windows and seal the room. For hazardous material incidents cut plastic sheeting to fit over windows and vents ahead of time, then secure it with duct tape.
- Place a damp towel at the base of the door.
- Stay in the room and listen for news on the radio or television. Do not come out until you are told it is safe, or you are told by authorities to evacuate.
- Consider keeping some basic disaster supplies (flashlight, radio, water and food) in each of the safe rooms in your home.
Learn more about how to shelter-in-place for various types of incidents with diagrams.