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Emergency Management

Shelter-In-Place for Anhydrous Ammonia Releases

Recommended Shelter-In-Place Instructions

  • Close and lock all doors, including garage doors to the outside and close and lock all windows (doors and windows sometimes seal better when locked).
  • Building superintendents should set all ventilation systems to 100 percent recirculation so that no air is drawn into the structure. Where this is not possible, ventilation systems should be turned off.
  • Turn off all heating systems.
  • Turn off all air conditioners and switch inlets to the "closed" position. Seal any gaps around window type air conditioners with tape and plastic sheeting, wax paper or aluminum wrap.
  • Turn off all exhaust fans in kitchens, bathrooms and other places.
  • Close all fireplace dampers.
  • Close as many internal doors as possible in your home or building.
  • Use tape and plastic food wrapping, wax paper or aluminum wrap to cover and seal bathroom exhaust fan grills, range vents, dryer vents and other openings to the outside (including any obvious gaps around external windows and doors) to the extent possible.
  • Hold a wet cloth or handkerchief over your nose and mouth if the ammonia smell starts to bother you. For a higher degree of protection, go into the bathroom, close the door and turn on the shower in a strong spray to "wash" the air. Seal any openings to the outside of the bathroom as best you can. Do not worry about running out of air to breathe since this is highly unlikely in an average home or building.
  • Minimize the use of elevators in buildings. These tend to "pump" outdoor air in and out of a building as they travel up and down.
  • Tune into the Emergency Broadcast System on your radio or television for further information and guidance.
  • Avoid open spaces in the upper levels of buildings as ammonia gas may collect in these areas. Ammonia gas is lighter than air.

Taken from "Hazard Screening of Anhydrous Ammonia in Nebraska", John Steinauer, NDEQ, June 27, 1995.

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