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Emergency Management

Shelter-In-Place Instructions for Hazardous Materials Releases

Recommended Shelter-In-Place Instructions

  • Close and lock all doors including garage doors to the outside, 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.
  • Close all fireplace dampers.
  • Turn off all exhaust fans in kitchens, bathrooms and other places.
  • 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 odor 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 Alert System (EAS) on your radio or television for further information and guidance.
  • Avoid open spaces in the upper levels of buildings as gases may collect in these areas. Remember that some toxic gases are lighter than air.
  • Prepare a disaster supplies kit. This can be helpful not only for shelter-in-place situations, but for severe weather or any other type of disaster that may threaten your safety. This kit should include the following types of items...
    • 3 day supply of water (one gallon, per person, per day).
    • 3 day supply of nonperishable, nutritious food not requiring cooking.
    • List of prescription medications (to grab quickly), extra eyeglasses.
    • Baby supplies (i.e., formula diapers).
    • Standard First Aid kit.
    • ABC Fire Extinguisher.
    • Battery operated radio, flashlights and extra batteries.
    • Tools: rope, wrench, pliers, hammer, nails, etc.
    • Change of clothing, sturdy footwear.
    • Bedding for each person.
    • Sanitary supplies (toilet paper, feminine supplies).
    • Pet food (most shelters do not allow pets).
    • Cash or credit card, out of town contact. List, paper and pencil, important family documents, reading material.
    • Any other supplies you may feel necessary.

For more information or presentations on a number of topics contact us at: 402-441-7441