How will you know you need to stay put and seal off your space?

watching TV

You will hear to stay put and seal off your space (shelter-in-place) from your police, fire, or other local officials on the radio, television, your mobile news app, or by text alerts on the emergency alert service.

You may need to stay put for a few hours, possibly a few days, or longer.

  • If you hear or get a text message code red alert or severe terror alert, pay attention to the radio, television, or your mobile news app to know if you need to stay put and seal off your space or evacuate. Always follow the instructions of your police, fire, or other local officials.
How do you get ready to stay put and seal off your space?

Staying put for chemical emergencies is different from shelter-in-place for severe weather or tornadoes or radiation or nuclear emergency. You should seal off your space from outside air as much as you can.

Make a plan to keep you and your loved ones safe if you must stay put and seal off your space.

Follow these 6 steps to keep safe.

  1. Choose your safe room, the room you can seal off from outside air. Choose the best room that:
    • Has few doors and few or no windows
    • Is large and has a source of water
    • Is on the highest floor possible.
  2. Come up with an emergency plan to stay in contact if you and your loved ones are separated. You may need to relay messages through texts or social media. Let a friend or relative outside of your area know where you are.
  3. Practice so everyone knows what to do.
  4. Put together a Ready to Go bag for you and one for your pet. You may want 2 bags – one for home and one for your car, truck, or other vehicle and 2 for your pet.
  5. Put together a pack of things to seal windows and doors:
    • Duct tape and scissors
    • Towels and plastic sheets to seal out chemical agents
    • Pre-cut plastic sheets (2-4 mil thick) to fit your windows. (You can cut these ahead of time. Sheet supplies are available at home improvement stores. Label each sheet.)
  6. Practice sealing all:
    • Doors and windows
    • Window air conditioners
    • Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans
    • Stove and dryer vents
  7. Include a supply of large and small trash bags and several pairs of disposable gloves.
Page last reviewed: March 31, 2022