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University of Houston - Victoria

Homeland Security

Shelter In Place at Work

Shelter-In-Place Defined

One of the instructions that may be given in an emergency where hazardous materials have been released into the atmosphere is to shelter-in-place. Sheltering-in-Place is the use of any designated office or building space for the purpose of providing temporary protective shelter. This is a precautionary measure taken when the threat is imminent and there is no time to evacuate. This action does not guarantee your safety but it is intended to try to keep you safe until conditions improve. This is not the same as taking shelter in case of severe weather.

Events that may trigger Shelter-In-Place include:

  • Terrorist Attack
  • Biological Agents
  • Chemical Agents
  • Radiological Releases
  • Overturned
  • Chemical Truck
  • Train Derailment
  • Pipeline Rupture
  • Drills

Actions to Take

  1. A shelter- in- place announcement is received.
  2. Immediately move indoors. You may not have time to return to your office or work area. Go to the nearest designated shelter and assist in preparations in that area.
  3. If there are students or visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay—not leave.
  4. Close all windows, doors, any opening and seal as best as you can using plastic sheeting, tape, towels, clothes, or paper. Also seal off all air conditioning vents in the room.
  5. If there appears to be air contamination within your shelter, place a paper mask, wet handkerchief or wet paper towel over your nose and mouth for temporary respiratory protection.
  6. If you have access to a radio or television, tune in to your local news radio or TV station for emergency broadcast system information to learn more.
  7. Continue to follow the instructions given by authorities. Do not leave the shelter area until the all clear is given.
  8. If office phone communications are not available, communicate by cell phone. Limit communications to avoid overloading phone circuits during the emergency.

Shelter-in-Place Kit

All major departments will have a shelter-in-place kit for emergencies. Classrooms will not have these kits. Kits will be available for all UHV owned and leased facilities. The shelter-in-place work kit will include the following:

  • Plastic sheeting (10 x 25' clear roll from local lumber supply is good choice) Plastic should be pre cut to size for the intended area to save time.
  • Scissors, 1 pair
  • Duct Tape, 2 rolls
  • Roll of Paper Kitchen Towels (2 rolls)
  • Bottled Water (12 pack)
  • First Aid Supplies (only in selected areas, otherwise use office first aid kit).
  • Flashlight (at least one)
  • A portable battery powered radio to listen to Emergency Broadcast System news.
  • Batteries (one unopened package for flashlight and radio)
  • Extra plastic liners for trash can. Can be used for emergency toilet needs.

After the All Clear

  1. After you have been told you may leave the shelter, continue to be cautious.
  2. Any strange/unusual material or liquids should not be touched. Be aware of your surroundings. If there are dead plants or birds in an area, avoid them.
  3. Avoid any low areas where vapors or particulates might remain protected from the wind.