Shelter Instructions for Hazardous Materials

Recommended Shelter-In-Place Instructions

  • 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.
  • Building superintendents should set all ventilation systems to 100% 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, 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 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.
  • 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 nonperishable, nutritious food not requiring cooking
    • 3 day supply of water (one gallon, per person, per day)
    • ABC Fire Extinguisher
    • Baby supplies (i.e., formula diapers)
    • Battery operated radio, flashlights and extra batteries
    • Bedding for each person
    • Cash or credit card, out of town contact - List, paper and pencil, important family documents, reading material
    • Change of clothing, sturdy footwear
    • List of prescription medications (to grab quickly), extra eyeglasses
    • Pet food (most shelters do not allow pets)
    • Sanitary supplies (toilet paper, feminine supplies)
    • Standard First Aid kit
    • Tools - rope, wrench, pliers, etc.
    • Any other supplies you may feel necessary
  • Tune into the Emergency Alert System (EAS) 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.

Contact Us

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