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Shelter in Place

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The opposite of evacuation is shelter in place.

It's used when there's a threat out there that the protection is better in here.

Examples, are tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, lightning, hazardous materials, civil unrest, criminal on the loose, etc.

Again, when the threat is out there, if you leave the in here, you expose yourself to the threat.

FEMA offers these tips:

If you are instructed by local authorities to take shelter, do so immediately.

1. If feasible, develop a system for knowing who is in your building in case there is an emergency.
2. Establish a warning system.
* Test systems frequently.
* Plan to communicate with people with hearing impairments or other disabilities or who do not speak English.
3. Account for all workers, visitors and customers as people arrive in the shelter.
* Take a head count.
* Use a prepared roster or checklist.
* In general, employees cannot be forced to shelter, however there are circumstances when local officials will order that everyone stay put. It is important to speak with your co-workers in advance about sheltering to avoid confusion and allow for cooperation in the event you need to shelter-in-place.
4. Assign specific duties to employees in advance; create checklists for each specific responsibility. Designate and train employee alternates in case the assigned person is not there or is injured.
5. Get emergency supply kits and keep them in your shelter locations.
6. Practice your shelter-in-place plan on a regular basis.

Determine where you will take shelter in case of a Tornado Warning.

1. Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
2. If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
3. In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
4. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they attract debris.
5. Stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed.

"Seal the Room". If local authorities believe the air is badly contaminated with a chemical, you may be instructed to take shelter and "seal the room."

The process used to seal the room is considered a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between your people and potentially contaminated air outside. It is a type of sheltering that requires preplanning.

1. Identify a location to "seal the room" in advance.
* If feasible, choose an interior room, such as a break room or conference room, with as few windows and doors as possible.
* If your business is located on more than one floor or in more than one building, identify multiple shelter locations.
2. To "seal the room" effectively:
* Close the business and bring everyone 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, such as a break room or conference room, with few windows, if possible.
* Seal all windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Measure and cut the sheeting in advance to save time.
* 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.

If you are in the process of expanding, changing locations or building new facilities you may want to consider constructing a special shelter-in-place room. For more information see FEMA: Saferooms

This information is on the link at the top of this post. There's a graphic there that helps explain this. Click the link. Substitute home for building and family members for employees and you get the idea.
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