What should we do if we are instructed to “shelter-in-place”?

What Sheltering-in-Place Means

Sheltering-in-place simply refers to taking refuge in a building in the event there is an airborne hazard, rather than evacuating from an area. Depending on the situation, it may be safer to quickly shelter-in-place rather than try to drive to a safe area. It might be sheltering at home, at work, or in some other building and if you understand a few principles, it should be easy.

The purpose is to get out of the outside air and inside a building that is not contaminated. You want to keep the inside air in, and the outside air out, until the bad outside air blows away. 

What You Should Do if You Need to Shelter-in-Place

When sheltering-in-place:

  1. Close all windows and doors, exterior and interior. Open interior doors as little as possible.
  2. Turn off all fans, heaters, and air conditioners so that they don’t continue to blow outside air into your house.
  3. Close the fireplace damper so that outside air can’t blow down the chimney and inside the building.
  4. Take water, food, and disaster supplies, including a radio, into the most airtight room, preferably one without windows, but with a phone. Bring your pets in with you, along with additional water and food for them.
  5. Use duct tape or other strong tapes to seal all cracks around the door, vents, etc., into the room to help keep out any outside air.
  6. Listen to your radio or television for further instructions.

For further information read the How To Prepare For Emergencies page provided by the Red Cross.

Show All Answers

1. What should we do if we are instructed to “shelter-in-place”?
2. Why do you sometimes wait for a helicopter instead of just getting an injured person to the closest hospital as soon as possible?
3. Why do you send a fire engine to a medical call in addition to the paramedics?
4. Why are there are so many firefighters at medical emergencies and at fire safety inspections?
5. Where should smoke detectors be placed in my home?
6. Where should fire extinguishers be placed in my home?
7. Where can I take EMT classes?
8. Where can I get my blood pressure taken?
9. When are fire extinguishers placed in a commercial building?
10. When will you be hiring next?
11. When responding to a call in the middle of the night, do the firefighters have to sound the fire engine sirens even though traffic is probably light?
12. When I call 911 for a medical emergency, why does the fire department show up?
13. What is the work schedule for firefighters?
14. What is an “ABC” fire extinguisher and what do the numbers 2A 10BC mean?
15. What can you do about weeds?
16. What are some things people don’t realize when they decide not to evacuate before a threatening brush fire?
17. How often should a fire extinguisher be serviced?
18. How many calls do you have per day?
19. How do I get a copy of a fire or medical patient report?
20. How can I get my business’ fire extinguisher serviced?
21. How can I become a career firefighter?
22. Firefighters wear a lot of gear; is it fireproof and how much does it weigh?
23. Does the La Verne Fire Department have a Ride-Along Program?
24. Does the Fire Department offer CPR classes?
25. Do you service fire extinguishers?
26. Do you rescue cats from trees?
27. Do you accept interest cards?
28. Do firefighters pay for their food when you see them in stores and restaurants or does the City pay for their meals?
29. Are some types of landscaping more dangerous than others?
30. Are fireworks legal to use in the City?
31. Are all firefighters good cooks?