In the event hazardous materials such as chemical, biological or radiological materials are released into the atmosphere, government emergency preparedness agencies may request OTC to Shelter-in-Place. This is a precaution aimed to keep people safe while remaining indoors. Shelter-in-Place means selecting interior rooms and hallways with no or few windows and taking refuge there. Rooms with mechanical equipment like ventilation blowers or pipes should not be used, because this equipment may not be able to be sealed from the outdoors. If there is a possibility of an outside explosion, rooms with windows should not be used. Interior rooms above ground level are best for shelter, because certain contaminants may be heavier than air; these would settle at ground level and could spread into ground level floors. Emergency information will be provided by local, state or federal authorities on television and on radio stations.
If possible there should be a telephone or email access in every room used for shelter. This is so people can contact their emergency contact person. Staff and students need to have an emergency contact person and know how to contact them at anytime. It is best to have a local contact and someone not in the immediate area. Someone not living in the immediate area may not be affected by the same event faced locally. In the event of an emergency the contact person can let others know you are safe and any information you want to pass on to family and friends. Information may be passed by telephone or e-mail.
The person in charge of each building should have someone write down the names of everyone in that building. This information should be provided to the Director of Communications & Public Relations so that family members can be informed of staff and students status if necessary.
In the event of an emergency it is best to use hard-wired telephones; cellular telephone equipment may become overwhelmed with numerous people trying to make telephone calls to family members. E-mail may be used if electrical power is available.
All exterior doors on all buildings where people are seeking shelter should be locked. Ventilation systems should be shut off to prevent contamination from the outside. People should remain in the shelter areas until told to leave by proper authority. Radios and televisions should be kept on so everyone can stay as informed as possible.
Remember that instructions to Shelter-in-Place are usually provided for durations of a few hours, not days or weeks. Local authorities on the scene are the best source of information for your particular situation. Following instructions during and after emergencies regarding shelter, food, water and cleanup methods is your safest choice.
A recording should be on telephone number 447-7500 stating that OTC is closed, and that staff and students are remaining on campus in their work or class buildings until proper authorities advise it is safe to leave.