When to Stay Put


There are emergencies where it is safer to remain where  you are rather than evacuate.  Shelter-in-place means to seek immediate shelter in a pre-determined safe location for usually no more than a few hours.


You will know to shelter-in place with the following warnings:

  • All-Call telephoning/Reverse-911 is an automated system for sending recorded messages
  • Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcasts on television or radio
  • Outdoor warning sirents/horns; facilities that deal with hazardous materials are required to install sirens and other warning systems that are audible/visible for a 10 mile radius of the facility
  • NOAA Weather Radio alerts
  • Residential route alerting; messages are announced from vehicles with public address systems

Shelter-In-Place: Find a Safe Place Right Where You Are

In an emergency when harmful agents are in the air, evacuation may be dangerous. To prevent further exposure you may be told to find shelter indoors wherever you are. This is call the Shelter-In-Place. These 5 steps to Shelter-In-Place are the same for home, work or school.


  • Go inside. Quickly move people and pets indoors.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors.
  • Turn off and close all venting systems. Include air conditioners, bathrooms and stove fans, and fireplace dampers.
  • Go into an interior room and seal it. Block any gaps to the outside air with tape and plastic or damp towls. Do not use the basement because toxic gases collect level of the house.
  • Turn to your local radio of TV station for more information.

Shelter-In-Place Kit

Your Shelter-In-Place kit should include but not limited to:


  • Radio (Battery or Windup)
  • Clock (Battery or Windup)
  • Bottled Water
  • Flashlight
  • First-aid Supplies
  • Extra Batteries
  • Snack Food
  • Blankets
  • Bath Towl
  • Duct Tape
  • Plastic Sheeting

Evacuation: Leaving the Area in an Emergency

In an emergency, you make be asked by police, firefighters or other officials to leave your home, a public building or your place of work. If this happens, you should:


  • Follow directions, but move quickly
  • Don't use the phone, unless you need medical help right away
  • Bring ID, such as drivers license, state ID card, or insurance card.
  • Bring your medications, or things you may need if your have special needs
  • Turn everything off and lock the doors and windows before you leave. Dont forget your keys
  • Pack extra clothes, if you have time
  • Plan for pets. If you evacuate with your pet it is best to have them in a carrier.

Decontamination: Cleaning Harmful Agents off of you and the Things Around You

Decontamination means removing harmful agents and germs from skin, clothing, and objects. You may be asked to do this by police, fire or other safety officials.


  • Take off your clothes and other items. Put everything in a plastic bag and then into another bag again (double bag). You may put importanat items, suchs as keys and money, in a seperate sealed bag. Write your name on the bags.
  • Shower for 15 minutes, use lots of soap on your hair and body, then rinse of well. Warm water is best.
  • If you wear contacts wash your hands very well before touching your eyes to take them out.
  • If your eyes are burning rinse with water for 15 minutes. Warm water is best.
  • If you feel sick, seek medical help.

Mass Care Shelter

For some hazards a mass care shelter might be the safest place. While food, water, and other neccesities are often provided at these locations, you should still be prepared to bring your own supplies until the shelter is fully functioning.


To learn more about mass care shelters, and creating a safe shelter in place please click here.