A Shelter-In-Place action may need to be taken during an accidental release of toxic chemicals to the outside air or other emergency where the escape route may not be safely secured. Shelter-In-Place means to seek an immediate, temporary shelter inside a building, residence hall, or area. If you are already located within a building when a Shelter-In-Place is communicated, you should remain there until futher instructed. Shelter-In-Place may be advised for individuals or large groups depending on the situation.
How Shelter-in-Place will be communicated
Notification of the need to shelter in place may come through several ways. People may hear from the University via e-mail or telephone, by local police or government agencies, or from the radio or television about the need to shelter-in-place. If the national threat level has been raised to “code red” or “severe” level, people should be especially alert for emergency messages on the radio or television regarding the need to shelter-in-place in the local area.
How to prepare a Shelter-in-Place
The best location to choose for sheltering in place is a room with the fewest number of doors and windows. A large room or hallway with a water supply is desirable. During a Shelter-In-Place event, shutting down the heating and ventilation systems is recommended. This will limit the movement of air into the building. Some air conditioning and ventilation systems at the University are controlled by the Energy Office while others maintain local controls. Emergency building contacts should be familiar with the process to turn off the building system.
Items that may be kept in one area within a building for a Shelter-In-Place event include:
• First Aid Kit
• Bottled Water
• Flashlight and radio, with extra batteries for both
• Plastic sheeting (4-6 mil) and duct tape
What to do when asked to Shelter in Place
• Seek shelter in a building as quickly as possible.
• Close all doors and windows to the outside.
• Do not use elevators as they may pump air into or out of the building.
• Turn off the heating and ventilation system, if controls are available, to limit the movement of air. Buildings controlled by the Energy Office may be turned off remotely.
• If supplies are available, tape plastic over any windows in the room. Use duct tape around windows and doors to make an unbroken seal. Use the tape to cover any vents in the room and seal any electrical outlets or other openings in the walls, floors or ceiling. If duct tape isn’t available, push a wet towel up against the crack between the door and the floor.
• Flashlights are recommended whenever there is a loss of power. Candles present an increased risk of fire.
• If available, turn on a radio. Keep a telephone close at hand, but don’t use it unless you are experiencing a serious emergency.
• If possible, monitor the University’s Emergency Preparedness webpage http://www.unh.edu/emergency/ for additional information.
• Do not go outside or attempt to drive unless you are specifically instructed to evacuate.
How people can get more information about Sheltering in Place
• University of New Hampshire Office of Environmental Health & Safety http://www.unh.edu/ehs
• U.S. Department of Homeland Security http://www.ready.gov/faq.html
• Center for Disease Control Emergency Preparedness and Response http://www.bt.cdc.gov/planning/