Frequently during disasters, people are asked to evacuate their homes to seek safety in a shelter or another community. However, there are times when the safest thing to do is to stay where you are - indoors. This is especially true for any disaster involving hazardous chemicals. A hazardous chemical could be a solid, liquid, or gas. You may not be able to see or smell anything, yet it can still be quite dangerous.

In the event of such an emergency, local officials will advise you to "shelter in place." This means you should remain inside your home,  office, or wherever you are when the alert is given.  To protect yourself in your home:

  • Close garage doors in attached garages. Close any exterior doors.
  • Close and lock all windows and interior doors.
  • Turn off all fans, heating, and air conditioning systems.
  • Close the fireplace damper.
  • Get your disaster supply kit.
  • Go to an interior room without windows that's above ground level. In case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed. Using duct tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room.
  • Listen to battery-powered radio or TV for further instruction. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at any time.