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Get Prepared: Shelter in Place


During some emergencies, you may be asked to stay where you are, or "shelter in place." 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:

  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.
  • Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems.
  • Seal all windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape.
  • Make sure you have emergency supplies
  • Tune in to local radio or TV stations to receive updates.
  • 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.

More Resources
Learn more about emergency supply kits
Guidelines for Staying Put (Sheltering in Place) (
Shelter in Place in an Emergency (Red Cross)
Sheltering in Place: Chemical Emergencies (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Sheltering in Place: Radiation Emergencies (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)