"Shelter-In-Place" refers to remaining inside your home, school, or places of work during certain types of emergencies.Sheltering-in-Place is an effective tool in Canada as most buildings and structures are built and sealed to withstand winter conditions.
Based on the circumstances, Emergency Officials will let residents know if Sheltering-in-Place is appropriate, or if an evacuation is required. They will provide this information through local television, radio, by telephone or by door to door notification.
Instructions for Shelter-in-Place
Shelter-In-Place preparations can and should be part of your family's Emergency Plan. When advised by emergency officials to Shelter-in-Place, all persons should take the following precautions:
- Go indoors immediately and stay there.
- Use stairwells instead of elevators wherever possible.
- Close all windows and doors.
- Turn off all furnaces, hot water heaters, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
- Do not operate kitchen vents, bathroom vents or the clothes dryer or anything else that would allow outside air to enter your home.
- Do not use fireplaces - close all dampers.
- Choose an inside room as a “Safe-Room”, preferably away from exterior windows and doors.
- Seal cracks or openings around the “Safe-Room” doorway with wide tape and a rolled up damp towel at the base of the door.
- If there is a window, tape a plastic sheet over the window to seal it.
- Use telephones only if immediate emergency assistance is required.
- Stay tuned to local radio or television station for information updates.
- Wait for the “all-clear” announcement.
Family Emergency Kit
You should add the following supplies to your family emergency kit:
- Plastic sheeting - to seal windows, vents and doors.
- Duct tape - rolls of duct tape to be used to secure the plastic over windows/vents and to seal doors. (Be aware that duct tape may damage finish.)
- Battery operated radio with fresh batteries. In the event of a power outage, a battery operated radio is necessary to hear emergency announcements including the "all clear" when the emergency is over.
- Flashlight with fresh batteries.
- Enough towels to block the bottoms of each door in the room.
- Bottled water for drinking.
- Snack foods, and pet food.
- First aid kit.
- Garbage bags can be used for storage of refuse or even as a "bathroom".
- Board games or cards.
Choose a room in your home that you designate a "Safe-Room". Since many hazardous materials are heavier than air, a “Safe-Room” should be above ground level, not in a basement. It should have:
- No or few windows.
- A telephone. If a regular telephone is not available, bring a cellular telephone for emergency use.
- Enough room for everyone who needs to shelter.
- Access to water if possible. A room with an adjoining bath is an excellent choice.
- If possible, try to store your emergency kit in the room, in an under-the-bed box or a container that fits in a closet shelf or in a cabinet.
“All Clear” Announcement
While Sheltering-in-Place, persons should stay tuned to a radio or television for information updates and wait for further instructions from local emergency officials.
- Emergency officials may come door to door or provide information through local radio stations.
- An “all clear” announcement will only be made once the danger has passed.
- Persons may also receive instructions to ventilate their homes or properties by completing the following
- Open all windows and doors.
- Turn on all furnaces, hot water heaters, ventilation, air conditioning systems.
- As outdoor air may be fresher, occupants may wish to remain outside as your home or property is ventilating.
- Once the home or property is completely ventilated, all systems can be returned to their normal settings.
- Emergency officials will continue to monitor events after the danger has passed and provide information to persons in affected areas.
- Everyone should be aware of the possibility that the danger may return and emergency officials may direct them to Shelter-in-Place again.
- Emergency officials may also issue an “Evacuation Alert” or an “Evacuation Order”. It is therefore important for everyone to remain vigilant and to follow all instructions.