What to do:
Should you see or hear about a release of hazardous materials (chemical, biological or radiological) into the environment, it may be accompanied by a request from municipal officials for residents to "shelter-in-place".
Shelter-in-place is the practice of going or remaining in doors during the sudden release of airborne hazardous materials. The following is a checklist of precautions that you should take:
- Close all windows.
- Close all outside and inside doors.
- Seal off cracks around doors and windows using a wide tape such as duct tape and a rolled damp towel.
- Turn off all fans, heating, air conditioning, and any outside vents and/or ventilation systems.
- Do not use a clothes dryer.
- Close any fireplace/stove dampers. Do not use fireplaces, woodstoves, gas stoves, etc.
- Go to an interior room, if available, (above ground - some chemicals are heavier than air and will enter at an underground location first)
- Close and/or lock windows and doors into the room.
- Make available a radio and your emergency supplies/survival kit.
- Monitor radio or television broadcasts for updates until advised it is safe to leave or to evacuate.
Shelter-in-place requests are usually provided for short periods (a few hours). Therefore, you should not be concerned that the room you are in will run out of oxygen or that you will suffocate.
Shelter-in-place may also be used or recommended when there is little time to react to an incident and it would be more dangerous to be outside trying to evacuate than it would be to stay where you are, such as severe storms or tornadoes, civil unrest, or extreme temperatures.