Shelter-In-Place Procedures

What It Means To Shelter-in-Place 

If an incident occurs and the buildings or areas around you become unstable, or if the air outdoors becomes dangerous due to toxic or irritating substances, it is usually safer to stay indoors, because leaving the area may expose you to that danger. Thus, to shelter-in-place means to make a shelter of the building that you are in, and with a few adjustments this location can be made even safer and more comfortable until it is safe to go outside.

Basic Shelter-in-Place Guidance

If an incident occurs and the building you are in is not damaged, stay inside. Find an interior room and stay there until you are told it is safe to come out. If your building is damaged, take your personal belongings (purse, wallet, etc.) and follow the evacuation procedures for your building (close your door, proceed to the nearest exit, and use the stairs instead of the elevators). Once you have evacuated, seek shelter at the nearest safe College building quickly. If police or fire department personnel are on the scene, follow their directions.

How You Will Know To Shelter-in-Place

A shelter-in-place notification may come from several sources, including Campus Safety, local Police or Fire Department, other College employees, other State or local authorities, or other authorities utilizing the College's emergency communications tools.

How to Shelter-in-Place

No matter where you are, the basic steps of shelter-in-place will generally remain the same. Should the need ever arise, follow these steps unless instructed otherwise by local emergency personnel:

  • If you are inside, stay where you are. Collect any emergency shelter-in-place supplies and a telephone to be used in case of emergency. If you are outdoors, proceed into the closest building quickly or follow instructions from emergency personnel on the scene.
  • Locate a room to shelter inside. It should be:
    • An interior room
    • Above ground level
    • Without windows, or with the least number of windows. If there is a large group of people inside a particular building, several rooms may be necessary.
  • Shut and lock all windows (tighter seal) and close exterior doors.
  • Turn off air conditioners, heaters and fans and close vents to ventilation systems as you are able. (College staff will turn off ventilation as quickly as possible.)
  • Make a list of the people with you and ask someone to call the list in to Pierce College Campus Safety so they know where you are sheltering. If only students are present, one of the students should call in the list.
  • Turn on a radio or TV and listen for further instructions.