Police Department

Shelter in Place - Hazardous Materials

Shelter in Place - Hazardous Materials


Shelter-In-Place simply means seeking immediate shelter inside a building. This action may be taken during a release of toxic chemicals, biological or radioactive materials to the outside air or other emergency. If the outside air quality is threatened or compromised, sheltering in place keeps you inside an area offering more protection. Although rarely called for, Shelter-In-Place events usually last only a few hours. Emergency supply kits of food, water, and other items can be used during Shelter-In-Place events.

Immediate Shelter-In-Place:

  • When the release is nearby and the need to seek shelter is immediate.
  • Stay inside a building.
  • If outside, enter nearest building.
  • Remain in place until advised by emergency personnel that it is safe to leave.

Delayed Shelter-In-Place:

  • When a release occurs off campus and there is time (30 minutes or more) to move people to large, enclosed areas.
  • See list of delayed Shelter-In-Place locations at http://www.police.uci.edu/emergency-management/procedures/HAZMAT.php, Shelter-In-Place Annex (page 5).
  • Follow directions of emergency personnel to move quickly to a delayed Shelter-In-Place location.
  • Remain in place until advised by emergency personnel that it is safe to leave.

Information Sources include, but are not limited to:

  • Designated Zone Crew members will receive phone notifications.
  • ZotMail and zotALERT text messages will be sent campus wide.

Additional Procedures:

  • Move to floors above ground level. Shelter-In-Place in an interior room without windows or with the least number of windows.
  • Shut and lock all windows. Shut exterior and interior doors. Limit use of telephones to emergency calls only.
  • If in a laboratory, reduce all operations to a safe condition as quickly as possible. Follow instructions of Lab Manager or Principal Investigator.
  • Do not use elevators. Movement of elevators pumps significant amounts of air in and out of the building.
  • Many buildings’ ventilation systems are remotely controlled by Facilities Management. If necessary, locally turn off heat, fans, air conditioning, or ventilation systems. Close vents as you are able.
  • Follow instructions of Zone Crew members.
  • Make yourself comfortable. Look after one another.


  • Zone Crew members, beginning with Zone Captains, will be advised of the all-clear.
  • Open doors and windows.
  • Return ventilation system to normal operations.