When evacuation to shelters is either inappropriate or impossible, you may be asked to stay where you are. This could be as simple as remaining at home while officials clear hazards from a nearby area, or it could require more active measures during emergencies involving contaminated air.
Identify a room with few doors or windows to shelter in place. Ideally the room should allow at least 10 square feet per person.
When officials advise you to shelter in place, act quickly and follow instructions. Your main objective should be to get to a safe indoor location. You will likely be in your "safe room" for no more than a few hours. Once inside:
- If there is time, close and lock all windows and doors, close fireplace dampers.
- Turn off ventilation systems.
- Make sure you have an Emergency Supply Kit and Go Bag.
- Tune in to local radio or TV stations to receive updates from emergency officials.
- Only seal doors and windows when instructed to do so by emergency officials.
- If your children are at school, do not pick them up until the danger has passed and shelter-in-place orders have been lifted. School officials have shelter-in-place procedures. You will only endanger yourself by leaving a safe area during the emergency.
- To learn more about Emergency Supply Kits and other measures you can take before an emergency, see our section on Emergency Preparedness.
- Read our information on related hazards, including Hazardous Materials & Chemical Spills and Radiation Exposure.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides handy fact sheets about Sheltering In Place in different types of emergencies: