Shelter-In-Place Guidelines

Shelter in Place


heltering in Place is a protective action taken inside a building to protect the building occupants from external hazards, minimize the chance of injury and/or provide the time necessary to allow for a safe evacuation.  Circumstances that may warrant a shelter-in-place action could include:

  • Severe weather
  • Civil unrest
  • Active shooter
  • Biological incident
  • Radiological incident
  • Accidental chemical exposure

Practice general safety precautions at all times.  Familiarize yourself with the Crime Prevention and Emergency Preparedness information provided on this website.  If you observe any suspicious activity on campus, immediately contact University Police at 9-1-1 or use campus Emergency Phones.  Call (415) 338-7200 for a non-emergency and if you are using a cellular telephone.

The notice to Shelter-In-Place will be issued by emergency personnel from University Police or the Emergency Operations Center and can be received in many ways.  Building emergency personnel may receive notice to Shelter-In-Place, a message may be sent over the building or campus Public Address System, or notice may be sent using our campus wide Emergency Notification System via text messaging, email, cell and other phones numbers you have listed.

In the event of an active shooter:

  • If you can leave the area safely, do so quickly
  • Contact University Police to advise them of what is happening
  • Notify anyone you encounter as you are leaving that they must exit immediately as well
  • Do NOT signal the building occupants by activating a fire alarm
  • Take shelter in another university building if possible


If you cannot leave the area:

  • Close and lock the door
  • Move furniture to barricade the door if possible
  • Turn off the lights.  Block any windows that provide a view of the room to the outside
  • Stay away from the windows and doors if at all possible
  • Seek protective cover of some kind under or behind furniture
  • Take a moment to switch all cell phones to vibrate so they don?t alert anyone to your presence
  • Do NOT answer the door under any circumstances
  • Do NOT leave the room until directed to do so by emergency personnel
  • Work to remain calm and develop a plan to escape should it become necessary
  • If police enter the room, follow their instructions


For severe weather and civil unrest that pose a physical threat:

  • Stay inside and move away from windows to the inner corridors
  • Be sure to close all doors connecting exterior offices to the corridor
  • For extreme weather, relocate to lower levels in the building


For external chemical, biological or radiological incident:

  • Stay inside and move to an inner corridor or office
  • Close windows and turn off air conditioners and fans
  • Move to higher levels of the building if possible to reduce the transfer of contaminated air from outside to inside
  • Move higher in the building since many chemical agents are heavier that air and tend to hug the ground


Shelter-In-Place At Home:

  • Select a small interior room with no or few windows
  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors
  • Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems, and close the fireplace damper
  • Bring your family disaster supply kit and make sure the radio is working
  • Bring your pets into your shelter area
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room you select (cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency)
  • Use duct tape and plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room (during biological, radiological, chemical exposure and pandemic outbreak)
  • Listen to your radio or television for further instructions and updates
  • If you are in your car, close windows and turn off vents and air conditioning.


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