Shelter In-Place

If there is a chemical emergency or hazardous material release, you may be better protected in your home or car than trying to evacuate. Shelter-in-place protects you from the most toxic vapors as the cloud passes.


  1. Go inside immediately and bring pets indoors with you.
  2. Close and lock all doors and windows. Make sure they are closed tightly.
  3. Shut off all fan devices, ventilation systems, and any system that circulates air.
  4. Close the damper to your wood stove or fireplace if it's not in use.
  5. Go to the room you have selected to shelter in-place. If possible, this should be a small room with few or no windows, and doors only from the center of the house or building.
  6. Seal this room off quickly, using duct tape and plastic sheeting to close off ventilation systems, air or fan vents, doors, windows, and other outlets. Use wet towels to seal the bottoms of all doors. If necessary, use wet washcloths to cover your nose and mouth.
  7. Monitor your radio or TV for Emergency Alert System messages and further instructions.
  8. Do not make unnecessary phone calls. Tying up telephone lines prevents emergency crews from using them. If you have an elderly neighbor or know someone who may need assistance, quickly make that call.
  9. Stay inside in your selected area until you receive the "all clear" signal. This will be announced on the radio and TV.
  10. After the "all clear" announcement, open all windows and doors, and go outside until the building has been well aired.

Additional information is available at from the National Institute for Chemical Studies Shelter-In-Place (PDF).


Find the nearest building and shelter in-place as you would indoors.

In Your Car


  1. Shelter inn-place; do not start the engine!
  2. Close windows and vents; turn off the air conditioner or heater.
  3. Tune your radio to KONA, 610 AM or 105.3 FM.


  1. Continue driving unless directed otherwise.
  2. Close windows, vents; turn off the air conditioner or heater.
  3. Tune your radio to KONA. If your vehicle stalls, do not start the engine.