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Safety Topic - Shelter In Place
6/17/2016 3:20:47 PM

Since we just experienced a shelter-in-place because of the bomb threat in Beaumont, do you know what to do in such as situation? Whether you are at home or at work, knowing what steps to take during this type of situation is important. Not only does it help protect workers and surrounding residents, it also helps authorities complete their job efficiently and maintain a safe environment.

According to the American Red Cross, a shelter-in-place is a "precaution aimed to keep you safe while remaining indoors.” Shelter-in-place is more than just staying inside; you should look for a smaller room in the middle of the building with as few windows as possible. A shelter-in-place does not mean you should seal off your home or building. Always follow instructions of local authorities and know what you should do if they suggest sheltering-in-place.

The American Red Cross offers these tips when sheltering-in-place at your home or work.

At Home:

  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
  • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
  • Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Close the fireplace damper.
  • Get your family disaster supplies kit (http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/beprepared/supplies.html), and make sure the radio is working.
  • Go to an interior room without windows that's above ground level. In the 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.
  • Bring your pets with you, and be sure to bring additional food and water supplies for them.
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room you select. Call your emergency contact and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
  • Use duct tape and plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room.
  • Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.

At Work:

  • Close the business.
  • Bring everyone into the room(s). Shut and lock the door(s).
  • If there are customers, clients, or visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay – not leave. When authorities provide directions to shelter-in-place, they want everyone to take those steps now, where they are, and not drive or walk outdoors.
  • Unless there is an imminent threat, ask employees, customers, clients, and visitors to call their emergency contact to let them know where they are and that they are safe.
  • Turn on call-forwarding or alternative telephone answering systems or services. If the business has voice mail or an automated attendant, change the recording to indicate that the business is closed, and that staff and visitors are remaining in the building until authorities advise it is safe to leave.
  • Close and lock all windows, exterior doors, and any other openings to the outside.
  • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
  • Have employees familiar with your building’s mechanical systems turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Some systems automatically provide for exchange of inside air with outside air – these systems, in particular, need to be turned off, sealed, or disabled.
  • Gather essential disaster supplies, such as nonperishable food, bottled water, battery-powered radios, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, duct tape, plastic sheeting, and plastic garbage bags.
  • Select interior room(s) above the ground floor, with the fewest windows or vents. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit in. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary. Large storage closets, utility rooms, pantries, copy and conference rooms without exterior windows will work well. Avoid selecting a room with mechanical equipment like ventilation blowers or pipes, because this equipment may not be able to be sealed from the outdoors.
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room(s) you select. Call emergency contacts and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
  • Use duct tape and plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal all cracks around the door(s) and any vents into the room.
  • Write down the names of everyone in the room, and call your business’ designated emergency contact to report who is in the room with you, and their affiliation with your business (employee, visitor, client, or customer).
  • Keep listening to the radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.

Remember that instructions to shelter-in-place are usually provided for duration of a few hours, not days or weeks.

Make it a safe day!


Resources:

http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4340182_shelterinplace.pdf

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