Shelter in Place

What Shelter-in-Place Means:

One of the instructions you may be given in an emergency where hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere is to shelter-in-place. This is a precaution aimed to keep you safe while remaining indoors. Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire home or office building.

Why You Might Need to Shelter-in-Place:

Chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants may be released accidentally or intentionally into the environment. The important thing is for you to follow instructions from local authorities and the Building Staff and know what to do if they advise you to shelter-in-place.

How to Shelter-in-Place:

  • Close your business.
  • If there are customers, clients, or visitors in your space, provide for their safety by asking them to stay - not leave. When authorities provide directions to shelter-in-place, they want everyone to take those steps immediately, where they are, and not drive or walk outdoors.
  • Turn on call-forwarding or alternative telephone answering systems or services. If your business has voice mail or an automated attendant, change the recording to indicate that the business is closed, and that staff and visitors are remaining in the building until authorities advise that it is safe to leave.
  • Close and lock all exterior doors.
  • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
  • Gather essential disaster supplies, such as bottled water, battery-powered radios, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, duct tape, plastic sheeting, and plastic garbage bags. For further suggestions, see the preparedness kit, in the Internal Tenant Plans Section of this Chapter.
  • Select interior room(s) above the ground floor, with the fewest windows or vents. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit in (10 square feet per person are recommended). Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary. Large storage closets, utility rooms, pantries, copy and conference rooms without exterior windows are preferable.
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room(s) you select (not connected to the phone system so it remains operational during power outages). Call emergency contacts and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
  • The Building Staff will implement emergency ventilation procedures.
  • Bring everyone into the room(s). Shut and lock the door(s).
  • Use duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal all cracks around the door(s) and any vents into the room.
  • Write down the names of everyone in the room and call your business' designated emergency contact to report who is in the room with you, and their affiliation with your business (employee, visitor, client, customer).
  • Keep listening to the radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.
  • Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community. The
  • Do not leave the room until the proper authorities have advised that it is safe to leave.

Please click here to access the Shelter-in Place Checklist

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