Shelter-in-place is the practice of going or remaining safely indoors during an outdoor release of a hazardous substance. Sheltering-in-place has been shown to be the most effective response during the first few hours of a substance release where the public would be at higher risk outdoors. The goal of sheltering-in-place is to reduce the movement of air into and out of a building until either the hazard has passed or other emergency actions can be taken. A decision to shelter-in-place is made to save lives - do not ignore it!
Pre-select an interior room/s with the least windows or vents:
Prepare a shelter-in-place kit containing the following:
- Storage rooms.
- Avoid rooms with mechanical equipment like ventilation blowers or pipes.
- Room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit down.
- Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms.
- Ideally, the room should have an adjoining bathroom. For example, master bedroom with ensuite or office with adjoining washroom.
Other important steps to take:
- Battery-operated (include batteries) or hand-crank AM/FM radio.
- Plastic sheeting (pre-cut to size to cover any windows and doors and labelled).
- Duct tape for sealing cracks around doors and windows.
- Alternate lighting, in the event of a power outage (i.e., candle free lantern, flashlight, headlights (keeps your hands free), batteries, and light-stick).
- Bottled water for drinking and wet towels.
- Ready to eat, non-perishable snack foods.
- Enough towels to block the bottoms of each door in the room.
- First-aid kit.
- Paper, pens and a list of important phone numbers.
- Ensure a hard-wired telephone or mobile phone is in the room you selected.
- Consider a laptop or TV for information updates.
- Conduct a shelter-in-place drill with those living in the residence twice a year.
- Check the supplies of the shelter-in-place kit every six months.
- Get everyone inside immediately, including pets.
- Close all doors and windows.
- Shut down furnace, air conditioners and exhaust fans and vents.
- Close fireplace dampers.
- Retrieve the shelter-in-place kit once inside the shelter-in-place room/s.
- Seal any doors, windows, vents with plastics sheeting and tape.
- Place wet towels at base of door/s.
- Monitor media for updates (e.g. radio, mobile phones, etc.).
- Go to your pre-designated shelter-in-place room.
- Remain in the pre-designated room until an "all clear" message has been given by emergency officials.
- When the "all clear" message is issued by an emergency broadcast or news alert, everyone can leave the room.
- Open all doors to ventilate.
- Replenish and re-stow shelter-in-place kit in designated location.