Shelter in Place
Stay Put – Learn How to Shelter in Place
Sometimes the best way to stay safe in an emergency is to get inside and stay put inside a building or vehicle. Where you should stay can be different for different types of emergencies.
Be informed about the different kinds of emergencies that could affect your area and ways officials share emergency information. Ask your local emergency management agencyExternal about the best places to take shelter during different types of emergencies.
Get Inside, Stay Inside
If local officials tell you to “stay put,” act quickly. Listen carefully to local radio or television stations for instructions, because the exact directions will depend on the emergency situation. In general you should:
- Get inside. Bring your loved ones, your emergency supplies, and when possible, your pets,
- Find a safe spot in this location. The exact spot will depend on the type of emergency,
- Stay put in this location until officials say that it is safe to leave.
Stay in Touch
Once you and your family are in place, let your emergency contact know what’s happening, and listen carefully for new information.
- Call or text your emergency contact. Let them know where you are, if any family members are missing, and how you are doing.
- Use your phone only as necessary. Keep the phone handy in case you need to report a life threatening emergency. Otherwise, do not use the phone, so that the lines will be available for emergency responders.
- Keep listening to your radio, television, or phone for updates. Do not leave your shelter unless authorities tell you it is safe to do so. If they tell you to evacuate the area, follow their instructions.
Sheltering with pets
- Prepare a spot for your pets to poop and pee while inside the shelter. You will need plenty of plastic bags, newspapers, containers, and cleaning supplies to deal with the pet waste.
- Do not allow pets to go outside the shelter until the danger has passed.
Sealing a Room
In some types of emergencies, you will need to stop outside air from coming in. If officials tell you to “seal the room,” you need to:
- Turn off things that move air, like fans and air conditioners,
- Get yourself and your loved ones inside the room,
- Bring your emergency supplies if they are clean and easy to get to
- Block air from entering the room, and
- Listen to officials for further instructions.
Once officials say the emergency is over, turn on fans and other things that circulate air. Everyone should go outside until the building’s air has been exchanged with the now clean outdoor air. For more details, read FEMA’s Guidelines for Staying Put.