Shelter-in-Place

Shelter-in-Place (or Place of Refuge) refers to a designated area of safety when it is not safe to go outside, such as a small, interior room if possible, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. If you are told to shelter-in-place, follow the instructions provided. Different situations can require different locations, detailed below.

Why You Might Need to Shelter-in-Place

The air outside may become dangerously contaminated biologically, radiologically, or chemically—either intentionally or accidentally—severe weather such as a thunderstorm or tornado is occurring; or there is an active shooter, making it unsafe to be exposed to outside conditions. Should this occur, information will be provided by university authorities through IU Notify. The important thing is for you to follow instructions of university authorities and know what to do if they advise you to shelter-in-place. In any emergency, local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should monitor television or radio news reports for information or official instructions as they become available. If you're specifically told to evacuate or seek medical treatment, do so immediately.

Campus specific information will be broadcast over AM 1610 and the Emergency Alert Radios. Refer to the section on IU Notify Emergency Notification System for further information.

Shelter-in-Place for Contamination

  • Stop classes or work, or close business operations.
  • Share the notification with others in the building if possible, but do not leave the area where you were instructed to shelter-in-place.
  • Close all windows, exterior doors, and any other openings to the outside.
  • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
  • Gather essential disaster supplies if possible.
  • Select interior room(s) above the ground floor with the fewest windows or vents. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary.
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room(s) you select. Keep the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition.
  • Bring everyone into the room(s) and shut door(s).
  • Keep listening to the radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. University and local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas.

Shelter-in-Place for Severe Weather

  • Stop classes or work, or close business operations.
  • Share the notification with others in the building if possible, but do not leave the area where you were instructed to shelter-in-place.
  • Close all windows, exterior doors, and any other openings to the outside.
  • If you are in a laboratory equipped with a fume hood and/or a biosafety cabinet, close hoods and sashes.
  • Gather essential disaster supplies if possible.
  • Select interior room(s) below or at ground level. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary.
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room(s) you select. Keep the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition.
  • Bring everyone into the room(s) and shut door(s).
  • Keep listening to the radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.

Shelter-in-Place for an Active Shooter

Follow the procedures on the Criminal Activity/Active Shooter page in this booklet.

Related Blog Posts

  • As we say goodbye to winter, we need to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible when spring brings dangerous thunderstorms.
  • Indiana can experience dangerously cold temperatures, and being prepared is the best way to be safe.