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What to Do in an Emergency?

Shelter-in-Place

What is Shelter-in-Place?
Some kinds of chemical accidents or terrorist attacks may make going outdoors dangerous. Leaving the area might take too long or put you in harm’s way. In such a case it may be safer for you to stay indoors than to go outside. “Shelter in place” means to make a shelter out of the place you are in. It is a way for you to make the building as safe as possible to protect yourself until help arrives. You should not try to shelter in a vehicle unless you have no other choice. Vehicles are not airtight enough to give you adequate protection from chemicals.

What should we do during a Shelter-in-Place emergency?
If emergency officials recommend that people in your area Shelter-in-Place, you should stay inside and encourage others to do the same. Allow people from outside to Shelter-in-Place in your facility. Begin implementing your building’s emergency plan. For a Shelter-in-Place emergency, you will need to stay inside until the hazard has been abated and winds have dissipated any vapors in the vicinity.

Recommended steps to Shelter-in-Place:

  1. Advise everyone to stay inside. Announce to everyone in the building that a Shelter-in-Place advisory has been issued. Recommend that people not leave the building during this time unless specifically ordered to do so by police or fire personnel. Leaving the building could result in exposure to toxic vapors.
  2. Close all doors, windows and other sources of outside air. Close and lock windows for a tighter seal. Control access doors (locking will provide a tighter seal). Post a “Shelter-in-Place in Effect – Controlled Access” sign in the window so that people outside will know you are closed and Sheltering-In-Place. If additional people want to enter to Shelter-in-Place, minimize the time the door is held open. Move others away from any door that is opened. People who insist on leaving the building should be allowed to leave, but advise them it is at their own risk since emergency officials have issued a Shelter-in-Place advisory.
  3. Turn off all air conditioning or heating systems. Your building’s air-handling cutoff switches should be labeled, and employees should be trained where they are located and how they work.
  4. Use masking tape and plastic sheeting to seal any openings in the building.
  5. Officials will be providing the news media with updated information on the locations that should continue to Shelter-in-Place. Monitor local radio stations for information.
  6. Call security and let them know you are sheltering in place. Give then the names of who is there and your exact location. Call 9-1-1 if you need immediate assistance with a life-threatening emergency. Overloaded telephone circuits (including cellular phone calls) can prevent actual emergency calls from getting through.

Building Manager Emergency Coordinator Shelter-in-Place Guide [pdf] and Poster Template

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