HOW TO SHELTER IN PLACE
WHAT ACTIONS SHOULD YOU TAKE DURING A CHEMICAL EMERGENCY?
Local plants, pipeline companies, railroads, ship/barge companies and trucking firms are responsible for notifying local emergency officials about any chemical release that may affect the community. City of Baytown police/fire and emergency management officials are responsible for warning nearby homes, schools and businesses and recommending appropriate protective actions. You are responsible for following those instructions to protect yourself and your family.
Local officials may recommend that you "Shelter In Place" until the chemical release is stopped and winds have dissipated any vapors. Here's how to Shelter In Place:
1. GO INSIDE IMMEDIATELY
If you hear the sirens sound (sirens will wail for three minutes) or are otherwise notified of a chemical emergency, take yourself and anyone near you inside an enclosed structure, whether it's a house, business, garage, or vehicle. If you know of an invalid or unattended child in your neighborhood, call them and tell them to remain indoors. Keep any pets inside also.
Close all doors, windows, and other sources of outside air. Turn off air conditioning or heating systems, and close the fireplace damper to keep chemical vapors from entering. Ceiling fans or rotary fans inside the building can be safely used to keep cool. Gather a portable radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
Move into an interior room, preferably a room with no windows. From the inside of that room, cover any outside doors, windows, ceiling vents, and other sources of outside air with plastic sheeting and masking tape. Place a wet towel or sheet along the bottom of the door sill. If you smell any unusual odor or have trouble breathing, you should sit down, cover your nose and mouth with a damp washcloth, then take slow, shallow breaths and try to stay calm.
2. STAY CONNECTED
The City will communicate emergency information via phone, social media, website, local media, AM 1610 and the outdoor warning sirens.
Note: The City's sirens are tested every Wednesday at 9 AM and the test will last for one full minute.
Sign Up for Phone Notifications
Click here to register your contact information with the City's phone notification system. Using this system, the City may contact you via phone, text message and/or email. Make sure you register your cell phone number so you will continue to receive emergency information when you are away from home.
3. STAY OFF THE PHONE AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS OF EMERGENCY OFFICIALS
Local officials may try to telephone your home or business using their city's computerized telephone notification system. Do not call police, fire, or 9-1-1 unless you are reporting a police, fire or medical emergency at your location. Overloaded telephone circuits may keep actual emergency calls from getting through.
WATCH THE SHELTER IN PLACE EDUCATIONAL VIDEO FOR MORE INFORMATION
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
SHOULD I TRY TO EVACUATE?
Evacuation may be an appropriate precaution during a flood or hurricane, but you should NOT attempt an evacuation during a chemical emergency unless specifically ordered by city officials. Leaving your home or business may expose you to more chemical vapors, especially if you travel toward the leak or through the toxic cloud as it drifts downwind.
WHAT IF I CAN'T FIND SHELTER?
Several studies has confirmed that taking shelter is the best response to a chemical release. Even a poorly sealed building or vehicle provides some protection against chemical vapors. If you are inside a vehicle, close your vehicle's doors and windows, and turn off the vehicle's air conditioning and ventilation system. Turn on your car radio to AM 1610 for more information.
If you can't get inside, move in a crosswind direction, so the wind is blowing from left to right, or right to left, but NOT directly into your face or from behind you. You can see what direction the wind is blowing by observing nearby trees, flags, or clouds in the sky.
WHAT IF MY CHILDREN ARE IN SCHOOL?
Local school districts have trained their school principals and teachers how to protect your children and will shelter in place until the emergency is over.
Please do NOT call the school and tie up telephone lines needed by school staff to communicate with district officials. If you go to the school, you are putting yourself and all the other children in danger if school officials open the doors to let you remove your children from their safe shelter. In fact, you and your children could be overcome by vapors while traveling to or from the school. Instead, listen to am1610 for parent information from school officials.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN THE EMERGENCY IS OVER?
Stay inside, sheltered in place, until you hear the "All Clear" message from local officials over your city's siren system (steady tone), telephone notification system, or on the local emergency management radio station or AM 1610.
After the "All Clear" signal has been given, open all doors and windows, turn on your air conditioning or heating system, then go outside to let the building "air out" for 15 to 30 minutes before you re-enter.