Shelter in Place

Shelter in place refers to a safety measure where building occupants remain inside rather than evacuating. This is sometimes the best approach to take if there is an exterior hazard such as a weather emergency or hazardous contaminant in the air. In this type of emergency, building occupants will be advised of the risks outside and asked to remain indoors. Shelter in place is included in the Emergency Response Plan and the Office of Residence Life staff is familiar with the procedure.

During a shelter in place event, you will be given instructions via BU Alert. BU Alert should be monitored carefully to determine when the hazard has passed and it is safe to exit the building. More detailed procedures for evacuations and shelter in place may be found on this web page under the heading “Evacuation.”

Shelter in place means selecting a small, interior room, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire home or office building. If you are told to shelter in place, follow the instructions provided here, which we have formulated from the American Red Cross.

Why You Might Need to Shelter in Place: Chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants may be released accidentally or intentionally into the environment. Should this occur, information will be provided by local authorities on television and radio stations on how to protect you and your family.

Because information will most likely be provided on television and radio, it is important to keep a TV or radio on, even during the workday. The important thing is for you to follow instructions of University and/or local authorities and know what to do if they advise you to shelter in place.

Local officials on the scene are the best source of information for your particular situation. Following their instructions during and after emergencies regarding sheltering, food, water, and cleanup methods is your safest choice.

Remember that instructions to shelter in place are usually provided for durations of a few hours, not days or weeks. There is little danger that the room in which you are taking shelter will run out of oxygen and you will suffocate.