Shelter in Place

Lyon County Emergency Management

Shelter in Place Questions and Answers

Does Shelter in Place really work?

Yes it does.  In fact, during the 1992 Gulf War, Israeli citizens used Shelter in Place techniques to protect themselves against the threat of chemical weapons carried by Sadam Hussein’s SCUD missiles.

Shelter in Place techniques are also effective because they are easily and quickly accomplished.  In a matter of moments, you can be safe inside your pre-selected room should a chemical emergency occur in your area.

When should I Shelter in Place?
If you hear the Shelter in Place instruction on the radio or T.V., or if you hear a siren sound for an extended period of time, go inside and turn on your radio to find out what you should do.  If you smell a strong or unusual odor and you don’t know where it is coming from, go inside and begin Shelter in Place procedures while listening to the radio for more information.
Why not just evacuate?
In some cases, evacuation is the better thing to do.  However, evacuation could increase your chances of being exposed to the airborne chemical hazard.  Evacuation is also more time consuming, especially with our limited road systems.  The decision to evacuate or Shelter in Place will be made by local emergency authorities.
What about my child at school?

While it is only natural to want to get your child from school in the event of an emergency, attempting to do so during a chemical emergency could just make matters worse.  You and your child could experience exposure to a much greater chemical hazard while traveling to or from school.

Local schools are developing Shelter in Place procedures.  These are designed to ensure that your child would be safe at school during a chemical emergency.  As a parent you should talk with school officials and gain as much understanding of these Shelter in Place procedures as possible.

What should you do if you are told to Shelter in Place in a Hazardous Materials Emergency?
Go inside immediately and close all windows and doors.  Turn off ventilation systems such as air conditioners, furnaces and fireplace dampers.  Go into and seal a room using duct tape or wet cloths.  Your room should also contain a Shelter in Place Emergency Kit.
What should you do if you are told to Evacuate in a Hazardous Materials Emergency?
Gather a change of clothing, baby needs, medicine and any dietary needs.  Keep vehicle vents and windows closed and do not use air conditioner or heater.
What should a Shelter in Place Emergency Kit contain?

A 60 yard roll of duct tape for sealing the doors and windows of your pre-selected sheltering room.  Enough plastic sheeting to cover windows, vents and other miscellaneous openings to the outside.  As well as a towel for sealing the bottom of the door.  Make sure you have enough water for wetting down the towel.

A battery powered radio and flashlight with spare batteries for both.  A few gallons of fresh water and some non-perishable food items such as snack bars and candy.

A First Aid Kit, infant supplies and any prescription medicines that may be needed while Sheltering in Place.

Sheltering in Place will be easier for everyone with a diversion to help pass the time.  Some games or books will help to pass the time.

For more information concerning Sheltering in Place, contact:
Kansas Division of Emergency Management at 785-274-1412