Shelter In Place Guide

Shelter In Place Guide

Shelter in Place is a method of self-protection from airborne contaminants and security risks.

In the case of a release of toxic airborne material, Shelter in Place can be more effective than an evacuation.   A tight building can keep 95% of the contaminants out during the first 30 minutes of an incident.    The following check list should be used when a shelter in place is ordered:

  1. Close all doors and lock all windows (Windows seal better when locked).
  2. Seal any gaps around windows and doors with tape or wet towels.  (The bottoms of doors are especially prone to leak).  Close curtains and drapes.
  3. Window air conditioners should be turned off, inlets switched to closed position, and vents sealed with tape and plastic sheeting, wax paper, or aluminum wrap, if possible.
  4. Building ventilation systems should be turned off and vents sealed with tape and plastic sheeting, wax paper, or aluminum wrap, if possible.
  5. Chemical fume hoods should be turned off after appropriate experiments are terminated, then sashes should be lowered, and sealed shut.
  6. Extinguish any open flame such as Bunsen burners and gas stoves.
  7. Turn off all exhaust fans such as bathroom and kitchen fans, then seal fan openings.
  8. Turn off any appliances, such as clothes dryers, which exhaust air to the outside and seal vents.
  9. Close all fireplace dampers and seal openings.
  10. Do not use elevators as they can act as piston pulling air in from the outside.
  11. Do not use the telephone except for emergency purposes, to avoid overloading the phone system.
  12. Close as many internal doors as possible.
  13. Don’t worry about running out of air to breathe.  This is highly unlikely.
  14. If the toxic material begins to bother you, breathing through a wet cloth or handkerchief can many times offer some relief.
  15. Listen to radio and television for announcements.
  16. When the situation is over, open all doors and windows and place ventilation on 100% fresh air to remove any contaminants that have built up inside the building.