What is Shelter-in-Place?
Shelter-In-Place is the practice of going or remaining indoors during a sudden outdoor release of a hazardous substance. It has been demonstrated to be the most effective response during the first few hours of a substance release. Sheltering indoors creates a buffer between you and any toxic hazard that may be in the outside air.
The goal of Shelter-In-Place is to reduce the movement of air into and out of the building until the hazard has passed. It is based on using a building that is constructed tightly enough to withstand typical Canadian winter weather conditions.
An event such as a fire, motor vehicle crash, train derailment, industrial incident, or a natural disaster may cause a substance release. As a result, emergency responders may request that you Shelter-In-Place.
When asked to take shelter, you need to take the following steps:
- Immediately gather everyone indoors and stay there.
- Close and lock all windows and outside doors. If convenient, tape the gaps around the door frames.
- Extinguish indoor wood burning fires. If possible, close flue dampers.
- Turn off appliances or equipment that either blow out inside air or suck in outside air such as:
Bathroom and kitchen fan
Built-in vacuum systems
- Turn down thermostats by about five degrees Celsius to minimize the on-time of furnaces.
- Leave open all inside doors.
- Avoid using the telephone, except for emergencies, so that you can be contacted by emergency response personnel.
- Stay tuned to local radio, television for possible information updates.
- Even if you see people outside, do not leave until told to do so.
- After the hazardous substance has passed you will receive an "all-clear" message. You may receive instructions to ventilate your building by opening all windows and doors; turning on fans and turning up thermostats. Once the building is completely ventilated, return all equipment to normal.