Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee

This site was created in cooperation with the Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee, and is supported by funding from the Department of Homeland Security.


Hazardous Materials and Sheltering in Place

Use plastic sheeting to cover openings when you shelter in place.

Shelter in Place Brochure (PDF)

Sheltering in Place

by Rita Hoffman, Emergency Management Coordinator,
City of Olathe, Kansas

[Plain text transcript]

Whether from an accidental spill or an intentional attack, hazardous materials can pose a great danger to you and your family. The Department of Homeland Security categorizes potential terrorist threats into these categories: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive. These kinds of disasters are commonly known by the acronym CBRNE (pronounced cee-burn). While the odds of any of these types of events happening in your community may be small, it is still important to know what to do.

In the event of an emergency where hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere, authorities may instruct you to shelter in place. This is not the same as going to a shelter in case of a storm. Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room with few or no windows and taking refuge.

If the need to shelter in place should arise, local authorities will make announcements through television and radio stations and NOAA weather radios.

How to shelter in place:

Sheltering-in-place is meant to protect you and your family for a few hours. According to experts, a tightly sealed, 10’ x 10’ room will have enough oxygen to last one person for about five hours.

Shelter-in-place techniques are effective because they are easily and quickly accomplished. In a matter of moments, you can be safe inside your pre-selected room. For more information about shelter-in-place, contact your local emergency management office.