During an Incident

Listen to local radio or television stations for detailed information and follow instructions carefully. Remember that some toxic chemicals are odorless. Instructions may differ depending on the threat and risk of exposure. Sometimes, it may be safer to shelter inside your home, other times it may be safer to evacuate.

If told to evacuate:

  • If asked to evacuate, do so immediately. To find a public shelter, text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • Quickly try to figure out which areas are affected or where the chemical is coming from, if possible, and get away immediately.
  • If the chemical is inside your building, get out of the building without passing through the contaminated area, if possible.
  • If you can't get out of the building or find clean air without passing through the affected area, move as far away as possible and shelter-in-place.

If told to stay indoors:

  • Bring pets inside.
  • Seek shelter in an internal room. Close and lock all exterior doors and windows. Close vents, fireplace dampers and as many interior doors as possible. Seal the room with duct tape and plastic sheeting.
  • Turn off air conditioners and ventilation systems, or set ventilation systems to 100 percent recirculation so that no outside air is drawn into the building.
  • Seal gaps under and around the following areas with wet towels, plastic sheeting, duct tape, wax paper or aluminum foil:
    1. Doorways and windows 
    2. Air conditioning units
    3. Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans
    4. Stove and dryer vents with duct tape and plastic sheeting 
  • Take shallow breaths through a cloth or a towel if gas or vapors could have entered the building.
  • Avoid eating or drinking any food or water that may be contaminated.

If outside when an incident occurs:

  • Quickly decide what is the fastest way to find clean air. Move away immediately, in a direction upwind of the source.
  • If in a car, keep car windows and vents closed and shut off the air conditioner and heater.
  • Find the closest building to shelter-in-place.