One of the instructions you may be given in an emergency is to “shelter in place”. This is a precaution intended to keep you safe while remaining indoors. The instruction to “shelter in place” means that you should find a safe location indoors and stay there. In other words, stay where you are. In an active shooter situation, control the urge to walk around; your movement, regardless of whether you are near the area of concern or not, may frighten or affect other people.

When you might need to shelter in place: you may need to shelter in place in the event of an active shooter situation, tornado, or other sudden severe weather event; when safe evacuation is not possible; or when chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants are released into the environment. The important thing is for you to follow instructions of authorities and know how to safely shelter in place.

Look around your area and determine where would be a safe place to shelter.


In an active shooter situation: determine whether you need to barricade yourself. Know if the door opens outward or inward. Test the lock.

In a severe weather event: the rule of thumb is to put as many walls between you and the outdoors as possible and head to the lowest floor possible. The basement is an ideal location.


  1. Stop classes or work, or close business operations. If there are students, customers, clients, or visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay, not leave. When authorities provide directions to shelter in place, they want everyone to take those steps immediately, where they are, and not drive or walk outdoors.
  2. Unless there is an imminent threat, ask students, staff, customers, clients, and visitors to call their emergency contact to let them know where they are and that they are safe.
  3. Wait in the safest location possible until you are given the “all clear” or told to evacuate.