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Emergency Preparedness > Emergency Procedures and Action Plans <- You Are Here

Shelter-in-Place

What Shelter-in-Place Means:

One of the instructions you may be given in an emergency where hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere is to shelter-in-place. This is a precaution aimed to keep you safe while remaining indoors. (This is not the same thing as going to a shelter in case of a storm.) Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room if possible, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire building. If you are told to shelter-in-place, follow the instructions provided.

Why You Might Need to Shelter-in-Place:

Chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants may be released accidentally or intentionally into the environment. Should this occur, information will be provided by University authorities on television and radio stations through UMD Alerts. The important thing is for you to follow instructions of University authorities and know what to do if they advise you to shelter-in-place.

  • How to Shelter-in-Place
    • Stop classes or work, or close business operations.
    • If there are students, customers, clients, or visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay--not leave. When authorities provide directions to shelter-in-place, they want everyone to take those steps now, where they are, and not drive or walk outdoors.
    • Unless there is an imminent threat, ask students, staff, customers, clients, and visitors to call their emergency contact to let them know where they are and that they are safe.
    • Close and lock all windows, exterior doors, and any other openings to the outside.
    • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
    • Gather essential disaster supplies, such as nonperishable food, bottled water, battery-powered radios, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, duct tape, plastic sheeting, and plastic garbage bags.
    • Select interior room(s) above the ground floor, with the fewest windows or vents. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit somewhere. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary. Large storage closets, utility rooms, pantries, and copy and conference rooms without exterior windows will work well. Avoid selecting a room with mechanical equipment like ventilation blowers or pipes, because this equipment may not be able to be sealed from the outdoors.
    • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room(s) you select. Call emergency contacts and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
    • Bring everyone into the room(s). Shut and lock the door(s).
    • Keep listening to the radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. University and local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.
  • Supplies
  • For the workplace, where you might be confined for several hours, or perhaps overnight, the following supplies are recommended.

    1. Flashlight with extra batteries
    2. Use the flashlight to find your way if the power is out. Do not use candles or any other open flame for emergency lighting.

    3. Battery-powered radio
    4. News about the emergency may change rapidly as events unfold. You also will be concerned about family and friends in the area. Radio reports will give information about the areas most affected.

    5. Food
    6. Enough non-perishable food to sustain you for at least one day (three meals) is suggested. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. The following items are suggested:

      • Ready-to-eat canned meals, meats, fruits, and vegetables.
      • Canned juices.
      • High-energy foods (granola bars, energy bars, etc.).
    7. Water
    8. Keep at least one gallon of water available, or more if you are on medications that require water or that increase thirst. Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles.

    9. Medications
      • Include usual non-prescription medications that you take, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, etc.
      • If you use prescription medications, keep at least three-day's supply of these medications at your workplace. Consult with your physician or pharmacist how these medications should be stored, and your employer about storage concerns.
    10. First Aid Supplies
    11. If your department or office does not provide first aid supplies, have the following essentials:

      • (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes.
      • (1) 5" x 9" sterile dressing.
      • (1) conforming roller gauze bandage.
      • (2) triangular bandages.
      • (2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads.
      • (2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads.
      • (1) roll 3" cohesive bandage.
      • (2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
      • (6) antiseptic wipes.
      • (2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves
      • Adhesive tape, 2" width.
      • Anti-bacterial ointment.
      • Cold pack.
      • Scissors (small, personal).
      • Tweezers.
      • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
    12. Tools and Supplies
      • Emergency "space" blanket (mylar).
      • Paper plates and cups, plastic utensils
      • Non-electric can opener.
      • Personal hygiene items, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, soap, contact lens supplies, and feminine supplies.
      • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses).
      • Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear, including a long sleeved shirt and long pants, as well as closed-toed shoes or boots.
      • If you wear glasses, keep an extra pair with your workplace disaster supplies.
  • General Information
    • Your kit should be adjusted based on your own personal needs.
    • Do not include candles, weapons, toxic chemicals, or controlled drugs unless prescribed by a physician.

More Information
American Red Cross
www.redcross.org/services/disaster/beprepared







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