SecureCore Blog

With the spread of COVID-19 through the United States, you have heard the phrase “shelter in place” more than you can count. What exactly does it mean, though? Do your employees, residents or tenants understand when and how to shelter in place?

A “shelter in place” mandate can easily cause a sense of panic, so it is crucial to understand what “shelter in place” means in different situations and what is being in each. Share our infographic with your residents or tenants to help them understand the differences!

What Does “Shelter in Place” Mean?

FEMA defines shelter in place as “the use of a structure to temporarily separate individuals from a hazard or threat.” How a shelter in place procedure should be followed varies as greatly as the threat you are seeking shelter from. You may be asking yourself several questions, including:

    • What type of threats might you need to take shelter for?
  • What should you do in each to protect yourself and the people around you?
  • How is this different than the “shelter in place” you hear about for COVID-19?

Reasons You May Need To “Shelter In Place”

Read below for common shelter in place scenarios and tips to implement them safely:

Emergency Threat

Shelter in Place Goal

Shelter in Place Tips

Severe Weather – Severe Storms, Tornados, or Hurricanes (the latter only if evacuation is no longer an option) To protect yourself from any related hazards, such as broken windows, projectile objects, heavy winds, lightning, etc. • Stay indoors and away from windows.
• If applicable, shelter in your buildings designated safe room
• If not, shelter in a basement or as close to the ground floor as possible in a windowless room.
• As the situation changes, such as flooding from a hurricane, you may need to change your location to stay safe
Chemical spills or other airborne pathogens To avoid any airflow from the outside that may contain the pathogen or contaminant • Stay inside. Under no circumstances besides extreme immediate danger should you leave your shelter.
• Close all windows and doors
• Turn HVAC systems off
• Use plastic sheeting and tape to seal air vents or windows
• Place wet towels under doors to block airflow
Active shooter situations To remain unseen until the shooter has been stopped and authorities have given the “all-clear” • Lock doors and windows. If possible, barricade door with heavy furniture
• Turn lights off and silence noise making devices
• Take shelter in corners of the room away from the door and behind furniture
• Leave a path for a quick exit if the situation changes to require it
Fire (if evacuation is not possible due to mobility impairment or other factors preventing safe evacuation) To stay safe from smoke and fire until emergency responders can provide evacuation assistance required. • If possible and applicable, move to your building’s fire tower or a room with fire safe doors.
• If stuck in your unit, place wet towels around the door to prevent smoke entry.
• Stay low to the ground, as smoke will rise

SecureCore’s “Shelter In Place” Procedures

Check out the procedures section in your SecureCore disaster planning app to see more details on each of these scenarios:

  • Active shooter
  • Chemical spills
  • Fires
  • Hurricanes
  • Severe Storms
  • Tornadoes

For each of these, you should stay within your shelter until the threat has passed, until authorities give the “all-clear,” or until you have no option but to leave (ex: flooding caused by hurricane, entry of a shooter into your immediate shelter area, etc).

SecureCore has developed emergency response and disaster preparedness planning solutions that makes implementing online disaster plans as seamless as possible. Contact SecureCore at 800-231-1281 to learn more and request an emergency preparedness software demo.