A study was conducted in Deer Park Texas by Radian Corporation to study the impact of toxic releases on the community to insure that Shelter In Place procedures are adequate for protecting residents. Radian tested a variety of homes, schools, and businesses in Deer Park Texas, including one- and two- story structures, new structures and older structures that may lack modern insulation standards. The results of this study would be very applicable to Douglas County structures.
After an extensive study, the following conclusions and recommendations were reached:
- In case of a release of toxic chemicals in your area, going into your home, a nearby building such as a store or church, or a parked vehicle offers substantially more protection that remaining outside.
- Home and businesses provide the best protection if prior planning is used to select and equip a “Shelter In Place” Room. Such a room can be easily sealed using plastic sheeting, masking tape, and towels (items that many homeowners already have or can purchase at a local hardware store).
- Once the emergency is over and the “all clear” has been sounded, homes and buildings should be aired out to remove any chemical fumes which might linger in the non-sealed portion of the structure.
- In case of a release of toxic chemicals in your area, you should immediately seek protection in the nearest building such as your home. If you cannot shelter inside a building, sheltering inside your parked vehicle with the ventilation system turned off is a safe alternative to remaining outdoors.
- Once inside a safe shelter, follow the Shelter In Place procedures taught by Wally Wise Guy: close all doors and windows, turn off the air conditioning or heating system, turn on your radio to AM 850, and stay off the telephone to keep lines open for emergency use.
- Select an interior room inside your home or business that is most easily sealed from outside air. Plan to use this room as your Shelter In Place Room. Because of the difficulty of sealing rooms with window air conditioners, window fans, attic fans, and wall heaters — rooms with these devices should be avoided as Shelter In Place Rooms, if possible.
- A Shelter In Place Kit should be stored inside your Shelter In Place Room. This kit should contain the following items:
- Masking tape (2-3 inches wide)
- Plastic film or sheets (such as using for painting drop cloths)
- Towels or sheets for sealing under doors
- Battery powered radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Bottled water or access to running water
- Pre-cut the plastic film to fit over all windows, air conditioner vents, and electrical outlets in your Shelter In Place Room. Use the wide masking tape to secure the plastic sheets to the walls. Use the wide masking tape to seal between the door and door frame. Lay a slightly wet towel or sheet along the bottom of the door.
- While you are safely sheltered in place, stay tuned to AM 850 for more information. Stay inside until the All Clear is given, then remove the masking tape and plastic sheets. Open all doors and windows, turn on your air conditioning or heating system, and “air out” your home or building for 15-30 minutes.