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Shelter In Place: Make Your Kits
ECHO Caer Group ^ | Monday, 9/24/01 | Emergency Communications for Hazardous Operations

Posted on 09/24/2001 9:00:51 PM PDT by Cascadians

Shelter In Place: Make Your Kits

Shelter In Place

aka SIP

[ Courtesy of ECHO Caer Group, Emergency Communications for Hazardous Operations, taught through the Portland, Oregon Fire Dept Training Center ]

[ Fair Use: For Educational / Research / Discussion Purposes Only ]

"There may be a time when an emergency takes place in your community due to an airborne toxic chemical release. The outside air quality may be affected to the point that it is not safe to be outside or evacuate. In a case like this it is usually safer to shelter-in-place until wind disperses and moves the toxic chemical away.


Many, but not all, facilities (chemical/industrial plants) and emergency vehicles have alarm, siren, horn, or similar notification devices or systems. A three to five minute continuous signal means:

"Turn on TV or radio. Listen for essential emergency information."

These various signal devices may use different tones. The key is that they will be continuously activated for three to five minutes. If you hear this signal go inside immediately and turn on your radio or TV.

For Airborne toxic chemical releases the safest immediate action is to shelter-inplace while listening for further instructions.


1. Move inside immediately and turn on radio or TV for emergency information.
Proceed right away to:

2. Close all windows and doors.

3. Turn off ventilation systems. Remember heating, cooling, air pumps, bathroom fans, kitchen fans, oven/stove ventilation fans, dryer exhaust, chemney/fireplace vents, etc.

4. In buildings, go into and seal a room if possible.

5. Continue to listen to radio or TV for further instructions.


Go inside the nearest structure such as a home, school, store, public building. Bring pets inside if practical. If indoors already, stay there. Turn on radio or TV for emergency information. If you are in a vehicle, close all windows, manual vents and ventilation systems.

In a structure:
Shut all windows, doors, chimney or fire place vents. This includes everything that can quickly and easily be closed to prevent the chemical from entering.

Turn off forced air heating or cooling systems. Turn of stove and bathroom exhaust fans.

Go into a room, preferably with no, or few, windows or outside air vents. If possible seal doors, windows, vents, etc. with plastic and tape or wet rags.

Continue to listen to the radio or TV on a local emergency alert system station until the emergency is over or until you are given instruction to evacuate. (Use a battery powered radio if the power is off.)


It is important that you have a plan for your home or business for sheltering-in-place. Some key steps in this plan are:

* Knowing what doors and windows are likely to be open and assigning some one to check and close and LOCK them. Locking seals better.

* Knowing where the manual vents are and how to close them.

* Knowing where forced air heating or cooling controls/power exhaust vents are and how to turn them off.

* Knowing what room you will go to and how to seal it. Have a kit pre-prepared for this consisting of things such as plastic sheeting, strong tape, duct tape, rags, towels, water, snacks, etc.
Pre-cut the plastic to completely seal all windows and doors and any vents in your designated shelter room. With easy-to-see large labels, clearly mark on the plastic which opening/window/door/vent it fits.

* Have a radio (preferably two). Have one electric and one battery operated radio in the room you've identified. Know the emergency alert system station(s) for your area and have the station numbers written on a piece of tape attached to the radio.


Most chemical release incidents are short-term in nature. But for any potential emergency situation, always keep an adequate supply of contained food and water sources, flashlights, first aid kit, batteries, a portable radio, essential medicines and other essentials. Practice safety drills to be prepared and know the emergency plans for your workplace and schools.


When a release or spill is identified, some chemical plants dispatch trained emergency responders to quickly assess the situation and plan an approrpiate response. If offsite impacts are possible, local response agencies (Emergency Management Agency, Fire Department, etc) are contacted and consulted with. The local response agencies will then decide what actions, if any, are necessary to protect the surrounding community.

[ Note: these instructions were not written with Y2K in mind, when communications may be overwhelmed or out and emergency responders completely overwhelmed. ]

Sheltering inside a building is considered to be a proven method of protecting yourself and your family in the event of an accidental release.


* Close all doors to the outside and close and lock all windows (windows sometimes seal better when locked);

* Turn off ventilation systems;

* Monitor the local Emergency Alert System (EAS) radio station for updates and remain in shelter until authorities indicate it is safe to come out.

Select a room in the building where occupants can be the most comfortable and which is easy to seal off. This room should, if possible, provide access to water, toilet facilities, and adequate room for people to sit or lie down. The room should have a battery-powered radio, snack foods, and bottled water.

Many people opt for the master bedroom area with bathroom.

If the gas or vapor is soluble or even partially soluble in water -- hold a wet cloth or handkerchief over your nose and mouth if the gases start to bother you. For a higher degree of protection, go into the bathroom, close the door, and turn on the shower in a strong spray to "wash" the air. Seal any openings to the outside of the bathroom as best as you can. Don't worry about running out of air to breathe. That is highly unlikely in normal homes and buildings.

Be sure to make Shelter-In-Place kits, with pre-cut, marked heavy plastic and strong tape to seal your closed doors, windows, vents, exhaust systems -- anywhere anything from outside could get in. Keep your kit accessible in the designated room. Make sure all members of the family know what the kit is for, how to use it, and why. Drill and practice Sheltering-In-Place.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
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Be prepared and safe; make this simple life-saving kit and gain peace of mind.

Hazmat accidents happen all the time; trucks overturn on the freeways, plants have explosions, etc.

And now there's War.

1 posted on 09/24/2001 9:00:51 PM PDT by Cascadians
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To: FReepers
Gas masks sell out in New York

" ... The best thing to do, experts advise, is to stay inside, completely sealed off from outside air, and wait there for several days for the poison to disperse. ... "

2 posted on 09/24/2001 9:04:27 PM PDT by Cascadians
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To: Dog Gone, Moo, Nita, FReeper Preppers
Those who have read the latest warnings re bio / chem / plutonium terrorist attack possibilities:

Please help yourselves and your family and neighbors by assembling these simple, basic kits which can enable you to Shelter-In-Place until the danger passes, if attacks resume, and there is any advance notice at all.

3 posted on 09/24/2001 9:07:27 PM PDT by Cascadians
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To: FReepers
Bookmark or print instructions. It only takes an hour to measure and cut the plastic and then label it.

Drill your family to Shelter-In-Place!

4 posted on 09/24/2001 9:08:52 PM PDT by Cascadians
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To: Cascadians
Is there a civil defense radio station that broadcasts silence in normal circumstances, and broadcasts a warning in emergency? Isn't there such a thing for tornado watch in some regions?

Mrs VS

5 posted on 09/24/2001 9:12:30 PM PDT by VeritatisSplendor
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To: VeritatisSplendor
Heard Rep. Shays on the radio today. Said not if, but when, and what and how bad. Said civilians should not prepare but pressure our representatives to prepare for us. Said smallpox vaccinations for everyone would take 5 years. Said preparedness had several parts - intelligence and prevention failed at WTC but response was excellent - medical supplies there within 8 hours. (And they were perfectly adequate because there were dozens of the gravely wounded not thousands). I guess he's a good sample of the government in action.

Mrs VS

6 posted on 09/24/2001 9:19:00 PM PDT by VeritatisSplendor
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To: Cascadians
A big thank you for posting this. This is the kind of common-sense stuff that everyone needs to know to prevent mass panic. Big rolls of plastic, duct tape, extra batteries, gas masks with extra filters, KIO3, food & water, etc.
7 posted on 09/24/2001 9:20:04 PM PDT by Nita Nupress
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To: VeritatisSplendor
Check out the following Link and see if there's a radio that does exactly what you are looking for:

NOAA All Hazard and Weather Alert Radios

8 posted on 09/24/2001 9:24:25 PM PDT by Cascadians
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To: Nita Nupress
Nita, we can't thank you enough for all the practical prep advice you have blessed Free Republic with :-)

It was only after seeing your posts that we decided to try a prep post and see if FReepers received it ...

9 posted on 09/24/2001 9:26:28 PM PDT by Cascadians
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To: VeritatisSplendor
Well, it looks like awareness of the need for self-reliance and preparedness is just beginning to dawn.

And as soon as the sleeples realize that Big Brother Gov can't possibly help them when TSHTF, they will make runs on practical functional wartime items, just as gas masks are now selling out at high prices.

Beat the maddening crowds and prepare prudently while there is still time.

Think about slow-downs in imports, possible fuel shortages, etc -- and make your shopping lists!

10 posted on 09/24/2001 9:31:29 PM PDT by Cascadians
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To: Cascadians
There's one thing I would add to the list of supplies: a portable toilet. If this has to be a shelter for several days, well...... I wonder if a small chemical toilet would give off harmful fumes in a sealed up room.
11 posted on 09/24/2001 9:37:17 PM PDT by basil
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To: basil
The best solution I know is two 5 gal buckets of sand, three empty buckets and a box of small plastic garbage pail bags.

Use an empty bucket that has been lined with a plastic garbage pail bag to urinate and defecate into. Cover your waste with sand and seal the bag. Repeat each time necessary.

12 posted on 09/24/2001 9:43:23 PM PDT by B4Ranch
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To: Cascadians
Duct Tape makes an excellent bio-hazard seal. But has anyone any formula's for how long X number of people can survive in a Y volume of air? It would be a shame to airtight seal your family in a small room and suffocate to death.
13 posted on 09/24/2001 10:20:59 PM PDT by okie_tech
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: crystal55t
Depending on the type of virus determines on what you can do or cannot do. Of everything a battery/solar operated radio is #1. This is where you'll get your info from. Some viruses will determine if you separate each member of the family into a different room. A bottle of 10% chlorine may allow kitchen and restroom use by each person at separate times. Stop into your local fire station and talk to the chief for information on your area.
15 posted on 09/24/2001 10:45:08 PM PDT by B4Ranch
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: crystal55t
If you have an infant who has stayed indoors and a husband who is a travelling salesman, who do you think is contaminated? The husband should be kept from the infant to avoid spreading the virus.

If you want to protect yourself find the time to do so. Your best place to get your info is local heath or the fire dept.

18 posted on 09/25/2001 12:11:22 AM PDT by B4Ranch
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To: FReepers
Some of your questions, we do not know precise answers to.

We're on an excellent Preparedness Forum that has been running since December 1997. It is filled with answers to every possible prep and safety question. Millions of posts, and the archives will soon be consolidated for searching.

Any of you who are sincere about safeguarding yourselves and family are welcome to ask questions on this Preparation Forum:


19 posted on 09/25/2001 6:11:05 AM PDT by Cascadians
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To: FReepers
Bump bump for prep info
20 posted on 09/25/2001 8:05:18 AM PDT by Cascadians
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