There are circumstances when the air outside is contaminated with chemicals, smoke, or other contaminants making it dangerous to evacuate the area. In these circumstances, local emergency response officials may advise that you immediately go indoors and attempt to limit the amount of outside air that can get inside your shelter-in-place location. This is not the same thing as going to a shelter in case of a storm. If you are told to shelter-in-place or feel that the outside air is contaminated due to a nearby chemical release, follow the instructions below:
- Bring your family and pets inside
- Lock doors, close windows, air vents, and fireplace dampers
- Turn off ventilation fans, air conditioning, and heating systems.
- Take your family, pets, and emergency supply kit or “go-bag” into a room with as few windows as possible.
- Seal the windows, doors, and air vents with thick plastic sheeting and duct tape.
- Cut the plastic sheeting several inches wider than the openings and label each sheet.
- Duct tape the plastic sheeting at the corners first and then tape down all edges.
- Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination.
- Listen to local AM/FM radio until you are told it is safe to leave your shelter-in-place location.
“Sealing a room” is considered a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between you and potentially contaminated air outside. This type of sheltering in place requires pre-planning, by purchasing plastic sheeting and duct tape that you would keep in your emergency supply kit.