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Shelter in Place

Shelter In Place Demonstration
Image Source - Ready.gov

There may be situations where it may be best to stay put and shelter in place. Use common sense and available information to assess the situation and determine if there is immediate danger. You should listen to media sources, such as television and radio for emergency information. Additionally, you should register for the City of Worcester's Emergency Alert Notification System, ALERTWorcester.

If you receive information recommending sheltering in place, do so within your current facility. Do not go outside and do NOT leave.

By creating a barrier between yourself and potentially hazardous materials or vapors outside, you can help to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones. The process of "sealing the room" takes a few simple steps and a rough guideline will be provided below.

  • Bring your family and pets inside.
  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.
  • Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems.
  • Take your Emergency Supply Kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.
  • Go into an interior room with few windows, if possible.
  • Seal all windows, doors and air vents with 2-4 mil. thick plastic sheeting and duct tape. Consider measuring and cutting the sheeting in advance to save time.
  • Cut the plastic sheeting several inches wider than the openings and label each sheet.
  • Duct tape plastic at corners first and then tape down all edges.
  • Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination.
  • Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available. Additionally, you should register for the City of Worcester's Emergency Alert Notification System, ALERTWorcester.

Shelter Safety for Sealed Rooms

Ten square feet of floor space per person will provide sufficient air to prevent carbon dioxide build-up for up to five hours, assuming a normal breathing rate while resting.

However, local officials are unlikely to recommend the public shelter in a sealed room for more than 2-3 hours because the effectiveness of such sheltering diminishes with time as the contaminated outside air gradually seeps into the shelter. At this point, evacuation from the area is the better protective action to take.

Also you should ventilate the shelter when the emergency has passed to avoid breathing contaminated air still inside the shelter.

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