Prepare to shelter in place

During certain types of emergencies — such as the release of a hazardous substance — you may be asked to shelter in place. This means you would stay safely indoors until any danger has passed.

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.

Quick tips for sheltering in place

Select a room where you will shelter in place

  • Select an interior room with the fewest windows or vents, such as a storage room or hallway
  • Avoid rooms with mechanical equipment such as ventilation blowers or pipes
  • Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms
  • Rooms should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit down
  • Ideally, the room should have an adjoining bathroom

Prepare a shelter-in-place kit

Your shelter-in-place kit should contain:

  • A battery-operated (include batteries) or hand-crank AM/FM radio
  • Plastic sheeting, pre-cut to size to cover any windows and doors
  • Duct tape for sealing cracks around doors and windows
  • Alternate lighting, such as flashlights, headlights, lanterns
  • Bottled water for drinking and for wetting 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

Take a closer look

Are you ready to prepare your home or business for sheltering in place? Use these resources to get started.

Print out these checklists, forms, and other tools

Visit these other online resources for more helping preparing