In many types of public health emergencies, the safest thing to do is simply to stay indoors. If the air is unsafe because of hazardous chemicals, radiation, or a spray (aerosol) release of a biological agent, local authorities may advise you to "shelter in place," which limits your exposure to the outside air.
To shelter in place:
- Make sure all family members and pets that are at home are inside. Then close and lock all doors and windows.
- Turn off air conditioners, fans, and furnaces. Close vents and fireplace dampers.
- Move to an inner room, preferably at or above ground level and without windows. (If the incident involves radiation, authorities may tell you to take shelter in a basement.) If you have an emergency supplies kit, take it with you. At the very least, make sure you have a battery-powered radio and plenty of drinking water.
- If local authorities advise you to do so, use duct tape to secure plastic sheeting around door and window frames.
- Stay tuned in to the local news, and stay inside until local authorities say that it is safe to come out.