What should you do to stay put and seal off your space?
Some chemical emergencies, such as a train derailment or terrorist attack, may make going outside unsafe. Leaving the area (evacuating) may put you in danger. It may be safer to stay put and seal off your space from any outside air (shelter-in-place).
If you have pets, you will need a plan to care for them. Taking care of a pet in a chemical emergency is not as simple as caring for yourself or a loved one.
Because every emergency is different, you may hear special instructions. Listen to the radio, television, or your mobile news app, or check your cell phone for text alerts from the emergency alert system and follow any instructions from your police, fire, or other local officials.
In general, you should do these following things.
- Go inside and take any pets with you.
- Close and lock all windows and doors.
- Turn off the fans, air conditioner, and furnace. Close the fireplace damper.
- Get your Ready to Go bags for you and your pet. Take your phone and charger cables with you and any medications for you and your pets.
- Go to your safe room, the room you can seal off from outside air, and shut the door. This room should have no or few windows, be as far away as possible from the outside, at the highest point in the building, and have a water source if possible.
What should you do next?
- Remove any plants that might harm your pet.
- Close off any small areas where small pets can hide or get stuck, such as under heavy furniture.
- If you already have the supplies, use duct tape to put plastic sheeting on your windows. Close any vents and duct tape closed. Put duct tape around the door to seal the room off from outside air. If you have no plastic sheeting supplies, put towels, sheets, or clothing in the vents and under the door.
- Turn on the radio or your mobile news app. Call or text a friend or relative outside your area to let them know where you are and that you are safe.
- Use bottled water instead of sink water if you are able. Toilet tank water is okay to drink if you have no other water source and have run out of your water supply. Toilet bowl water is not.
- In a chemical emergency, cars, trucks, or other vehicles may not be airtight enough to protect you.
- Listen to the radio, your mobile news app, or check your phone for messages to find the nearest shelter and go there. Follow instructions from your police, fire, or other local officials.
- They may be sheltered where they are.
- Use your emergency plan to stay in contact if you and your loved ones are separated. You may need to relay messages through texts or other social media.
- Do not try to go to your children, loved ones, or pets unless your police, fire, or other local officials says it is safe.