Shelter-In-Place for Anhydrous Ammonia Releases

Recommended Shelter-In-Place Instructions

  • Avoid open spaces in the upper levels of buildings as ammonia gas may collect in these areas Ammonia gas is lighter than air
  • 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
  • Close all fireplace dampers
  • 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)
  • Close as many internal doors as possible in your home or building
  • 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
  • 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
  • Turn off all heating systems
  • 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


Taken from "Hazard Screening of Anhydrous Ammonia in Nebraska", John Steinauer, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) June 27, 1995.

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