Department of Public Safety

Shelter In Place

Shelter in Place

  1. What should I do during a chemical emergency?
  2. Should I try to evacuate?
  3. What if I can't find shelter?
  4. What if my children are in school?
  5. How will I know when the emergency is over?

What should I do during a chemical emergency?

Industry officials are responsible for notifying the L.E.P.C of any chemical release that may affect the community. Local Officials warn the County  residents and recommending appropriate steps to protect the public. You are responsible for following those instructions and to protect yourself and your family.

Local officials may recommend that you shelter in place until the chemical release is stopped and winds have dissipated any vapors.

Here's how to shelter in place:


    Take yourself and anyone near you inside an enclosed structure, whether it's a house or business.  If you know of an unattended child in your neighborhood, call them and tell them to remain indoors. Keep any pets inside also.

    Close all doors, windows, and other sources of outside air. Turn off air conditioning or heating systems, and close the fireplace damper to keep chemical vapors from entering. Ceiling fans or rotary fans inside the building can be safely used to keep cool. Gather a portable radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.

    Cover any leaky areas with wet towels or sheets, if available. If you have trouble breathing, cover your nose and mouth with a damp washcloth, then take slow, shallow breaths and try to stay calm.

  2. TURN ON YOUR RADIO TO AM 1020 AM  or 102.9 FM

Do not call police, fire, or 9-1-1 unless you are reporting a police, fire or medical emergency at your location. Overloaded telephone circuits may keep actual emergency calls from getting through.

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Should I try to evacuate?

Evacuation may be an appropriate precaution during a flood or hurricane, but you should NOT attempt an evacuation during a chemical emergency unless specifically ordered by Local officials. Leaving your home or business may expose you to more chemical vapors, especially if you travel toward the leak or through the toxic cloud as it drifts downwind.

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What if I can't find shelter?

Studies indicate that taking shelter is the best response to a chemical release. Even a poorly sealed building or vehicle provides some protection against chemical vapors. If you are inside a vehicle, close your vehicle's doors and windows, and turn off the vehicle's air conditioning and ventilation system.

Turn on your car radio to AM 1020 or FM 102.9 for more information.

If you can't get inside, move in a crosswind direction, so the wind is blowing from left to right, or right to left, but NOT directly into your face or from behind you. You can see what direction the wind is blowing by observing nearby trees, flags, or clouds.

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What if my children are in school?

School systems have been trained how to protect your children and will shelter in place until the emergency is over.

Please do NOT call the school and tie up telephone lines needed by school staff to communicate with Local officials. If you go to the school, you are putting yourself and all the other children in danger if school officials open the doors to let you remove your children from their safe shelter. In fact, you and your children could be overcome by vapors while traveling to or from the school. Instead, listen to AM 1020 AM or 102.9 FM for parent information from school officials.

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How will I know when the emergency is over?

Stay inside, sheltered in place, until you hear the "ALL CLEAR" message from Local officials over the EAS System.  After the all clear signal has been given, open all doors and windows, turn on your air conditioning or heating system, then go outside to let the building air out before you re-enter.

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