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:
- Close all doors and lock all windows (Windows seal better when locked).
- 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.
- 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.
- Building ventilation systems should be turned off and vents sealed with tape and plastic sheeting, wax paper, or aluminum wrap, if possible.
- Chemical fume hoods should be turned off after appropriate experiments are terminated, then sashes should be lowered, and sealed shut.
- Extinguish any open flame such as Bunsen burners and gas stoves.
- Turn off all exhaust fans such as bathroom and kitchen fans, then seal fan openings.
- Turn off any appliances, such as clothes dryers, which exhaust air to the outside and seal vents.
- Close all fireplace dampers and seal openings.
- Do not use elevators as they can act as piston pulling air in from the outside.
- Do not use the telephone except for emergency purposes, to avoid overloading the phone system.
- Close as many internal doors as possible.
- Don’t worry about running out of air to breathe. This is highly unlikely.
- If the toxic material begins to bother you, breathing through a wet cloth or handkerchief can many times offer some relief.
- Listen to radio and television for announcements.
- 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.