Shelter in Place

Chemical Emergency

A major chemical emergency is an accident that releases a hazardous amount of a chemical into the environment. Accidents can happen on highways or railroad tracks, underground, and at manufacturing plants. These accidents sometimes result in a fire or explosion, but many times you cannot see or smell anything unusual.

Evacuate or Shelter

If there is a major chemical emergency near your home or office, you will be notified by the authorities to either evacuate the area or to shelter in place. If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately following the authorities instructions. Take your Family Disaster Supplies Kit with you. If you are told to shelter in place it is important that you know how to do this. This is a precaution aimed to keep you and your family safe while remaining in your home or office. If you are told to shelter in place, take your children and pets indoors immediately.

Precautions While Sheltering

While gathering your family, you can provide a minimal amount of protection to your breathing by covering your mouth and nose with a damp cloth. Once you are inside your home or office:

  • Close all doors and windows
  • Do not attempt to evacuate the area. Stay inside until you are told that you can leave safely.
  • Do not call 911 or the operator for information unless there is a possible life-threatening emergency.
  • Do not go to the basement, where fumes may settle.
  • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains. To avoid injury, stay away from the windows.
  • Listen carefully to radio or television emergency alert stations (EAS) [KVNI AM 1080, KXLY AM 920 or FM 99.9, and local network channels 2, 4 or 6], and strictly follow instructions. Your life can depend on it.
  • Move to an interior room with the fewest windows and doors.
  • Shut off heating and air conditioning systems, vent fans, and close fireplace damper.
  • Stay in the room and listen to your radio until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.
  • Take your Family Disaster Supplies Kit with you.
  • Use duct tape around doors, windows, exhaust fans or vents. Use plastic sheeting to cover windows, outlets, and heat registers.
  • Wet some towels and jam them in the crack under the doors.

By following shelter in place instructions, you will protect yourself and your family. Put these instructions where you can find them; in the event there is a chemical emergency in your area and you are asked to shelter in place.