Annex 22 - Shelter In Place

Objective

The objective of this annex is to define the actions and roles necessary to provide a coordinated emergency response by students, administration, faculty, support personnel, visitors and departments for Binghamton University during an emergency situation or disaster.  This plan provides personnel and departments with a general concept of potential emergency assignments before, during and following an incident that requires building occupants to shelter-in-place.

Concept of the Operations

A shelter-in-place order goes into effect during emergency situations when it is important to minimize exposure to outdoor and/or external hazards.  Shelter-in-place means to take immediate shelter wherever you are located.  It is important to listen to official instructions as the nature of the threat may impact the actions you take to shelter-in-place.

During a shelter-in-place situation, the campus will be closed and the emergency plan will be activated.  Binghamton University will disseminate information to students, faculty, staff and visitors while also directing them to proceed indoors.  If there are visitors in the building, they will be asked to stay to provide for their safety, as this may be a rapidly emerging event.  When authorities provide directions to shelter-in-place, everyone should immediately follow this direction and not drive or walk outdoors.

If a shelter-in-place order is given, enter the nearest building and move to an interior room away from exterior windows.  First and foremost, do not panic.  If you are told that there is danger of explosion, direct that window shades, blinds or curtains be closed and stay away from the windows.

Shelter-in-Place – Weather Related Emergencies

If hazardous weather such as a tornado is approaching Binghamton University property, campus officials may issue a shelter-in-place order to protect all members of the campus community.  If such an order is issued, you should immediately move inside the nearest structure.  This structure should be of substantial construction (i.e. masonry, brick, etc.) with a solid foundation.  Temporary structures such as tents, sheds, etc. should not be used as a shelter.

Shelter-in-Place Procedures for Weather Related Emergencies

The following steps should be followed:

    • Comply with shelter-in-place (weather) procedures.
    • Seek shelter-immediately move inside the nearest structure.  This structure should be of substantial construction (i.e. masonry, brick, etc.) with a solid foundation.  Temporary structures such as tents, sheds, etc. should not be used as a shelter.
    • Protect yourself from the approaching weather by taking the following steps:
      • Avoid windows.  Opening windows during a tornado provides no benefits.
      • Go to the lowest floor.
      • Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building that is away from glass. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not full, allow you to get to a lower level quickly.
      • Stay out of the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.

If your shelter is being impacted by dangerously high winds:

    • Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down.
    • Cover your head with your hands/arms.

Once the threat has passed, university officials will use all appropriate alerting methods to notify the campus community that it is safe to leave your shelter.

Shelter-in-Place – Hazardous Air Quality Emergencies

Sheltering-in-place as a result of hazardous air quality is designed to isolate you from the hazard and to prevent the contaminated air from entering your space.  This type of shelter-in-place response may be due to chemical, biological or radiological contaminants released accidentally or intentionally into the environment.

Shelter-in-Place Procedures for Hazardous Air Quality Emergencies

Sheltering in place as a result of hazardous air quality is designed to isolate you from the hazard and to prevent the contaminated air from entering your space. This type of shelter-in-place may be due to chemical, biological or radiological contaminants released accidentally or intentionally into the environment.

The following steps should be followed:

    • Comply with shelter-in-place (hazmat) procedures.
    • Seek shelter. Choose a safe, interior room, preferably with few windows and vents that could allow gases or fumes to enter.
    • Based on the nature of the hazard, university officials may direct you to isolate yourself in a lower or upper floor of the building.  This is due to some chemicals being lighter or heavier than air and having a tendency to accumulate in either low or high places. HWS officials will provide this essential information as soon as it has been determined.
    • It is imperative that you seek shelter and prepare a “safe room” as soon as possible.  If you must go outside, use a wet cloth over your nose and mouth to protect your respiratory system.  Some chemicals may burn your skin, eyes and lungs.  Your safest action is to shelter-in-place.
    • If you are unable to isolate yourself in a room without windows, you should immediately close and lock all windows and ensure they are closed as tightly as possible.
    • As soon as reasonably possible, university officials will shut down all heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment.
      • You may also call Physical Facilities to request this action if it has not already been done.
    • Monitor official Binghamton University communications for further instructions.
    • When the “all clear” is announced, open windows and doors, turn on ventilation systems and go outside until the building’s air has been exchanged with the now clean outdoor air.

Once the threat has passed, university officials will use all appropriate alerting methods to notify the campus community that it is safe to leave your shelter.

 

Last Updated: 2/8/16