How To: Shelter-In-Place

During A Chemical Emergency In Your Community

"Shelter in Place" is one of the basic instructions you may receive from public safety officials during a chemical emergency in your community. Industry officials are responsible for notifying the L.E.P.C of any chemical release that may affect the community. Local Officials warn the County residents and recommending appropriate steps to protect the public. You are responsible for following those instructions, to protect yourself and your family.

If you are told to shelter in place, take your children and pets indoors immediately.

There are several warning systems in use in Carter County.

Outdoor Warning Sirens: Designed to alert you when you are outdoors and away from radio & TV.

Nixle: A text messaging/email notification system used by the county.

Cable Interrupt System: Television broadcast will be interrupted by a voice message with instructions concerning the event. (Does not work with satellite providers.)

Emergency Alert System: Will interrupt radio broadcast with a voice message providing instructions concerning the event.

NOAA Weather Radio: The best warning method for your home. Work is now being done to insure that messages concerning all hazardous events will be broadcast over the weather radio.

The following general information is a guide on how you should act before, during and after an emergency. The situation in your area may involve unique circumstances. Your local emergency planning committee or office of emergency services can provide you with details.

Planning For An Emergency

Study your surroundings for fixed and mobile sources of hazardous materials.

Learn about any warning sirens where you live and work. Your local emergency planning committee or office of emergency services can give you information about the sirens, such as when they are tested and for how long.

Prepare a shelter-in-place kit appropriate for the type(s) of emergencies that could occur near you. The kit should contain duct tape for sealing cracks around doors and windows; plastic (preferably, precut to size & labeled) to cover windows; a battery-operated AM/FM radio; flashlight with fresh batteries; water-at least 1 gallon per person per day for 3 days; keep a 3 day supply of food for your family in the pantry at all times, or store a 3 day supply of non-perishables in a covered container in your Shelter-in-Place room; towels; toys for young children; candles; matches; first-aid kit; medicine and other items essential for your family's survival. Check the kit every six months to make sure all the supplies are still there and that they are fresh. The room should have a telephone, although you should use it only for emergency calls. If you use it otherwise, you may be taking up a line needed by emergency response officials.

Find out which radio, television and cable systems in your area broadcast emergency information.

Learn CPR and first-aid.

For a place to shelter, select a room in your house that has few or no windows.

Make sure all family members know what to do in a chemical emergency, whether they are at home, school, work or outdoors.

Review your plan periodically and conduct drills.

During An Emergency

You are most likely to hear about a chemical emergency by radio, television or warning sirens. When you learn of the emergency:

Immediately take your family and pets to the room you've chosen as a shelter. If your children are at school, do not leave your house to go get them. Going outside could expose yourself to hazardous chemicals. Also, schools have emergency plans of their own.

Shut off heating, cooling and fans that draw in air from the outside. If you have a fireplace, close the damper.

Shut and lock doors and windows. Locking makes a better seal. Cover any windows with plastic sheeting. Seal cracks around the door and windows with duct tape.

Turn on a radio or television to a local station that broadcasts emergency information. Stay tuned until the "all clear" message is broadcast.

Stay off the phone. It should be used for emergency calls only.

Be prepared to evacuate if ordered to do so by public safety officials. Evacuation instructions will be announced over the emergency broadcast system.

After An Emergency

When you hear the "all clear" message over the emergency broadcast system, you should:

Open doors and windows.

Turn on your heating/cooling system to ventilate the house.

Go outside.