Shelter-in-Place, 5 Critical Actions for your Business


Shelter-in-place order, chemical spill with hazardous smoke.

A Shelter-in-Place plan is used to provide protection to your employees from local and regional hazards, by taking shelter in a safe area, within your building, when evacuation is not advisable. Numerous hazards could cause a shelter-in-place action to be implemented, such as earthquakes, chemical or biological spills, terrorist acts, tornadoes, floods and armed intruders.

Through proper shelter-in-place planning, a business can improve its response to these dangers, offer additional protection for its employees and reduce the business recovery time from an incident.

The five (5) following items should be considered when developing a shelter-in-place plan:

1. Designate a Location – The shelter-In-place evacuation area should be well thought out. Consider the possibility of flying debris. Select an area that is structurally sound, has easy access to exists and is void of numerous windows or glass. Also, it’s best to select an area deep within the core of the building, where the structure is at its strongest.

2. Hierarchy – During a disaster the CEO may not be the best person to be in charge. Other staff members may have more experience and a better understanding of the appropriate actions to take during an emergency. Your shelter-in-place plan should include a general hierarchy list and back-ups for which roles staff and management will perform. The shelter-in-place plan needs to identify the type of communication system that will be used and how to alert all staff of the plan activation.

3. Plan and Maps – Evacuation plans and maps need to be located in a central areas, such as break-rooms, bathrooms, stairwells and elevators to improve employee awareness. A practiced shelter-in-place training program will greatly increase employees awareness of the proper procedures. The shelter-in-place plan needs to explain the process of how to safely evacuate to the designated area, determine the steps which will initiate a shelter-in-place action and more importantly how to step down and return to normal after a shelter-in-place has been terminated.

4. Supplies – Your company should consider all or a good portion of these basic emergency supplies in case a shelter-in-place order is issued. A well supplied first aid kit , flashlights in case the incident goes into the evening, walkie-talkies for communications, emergency radio, batteries, duct tape, food and water. All these supplies should be stored in the designated safe shelter room and reviewed periodically for expiration dates.

5. Business Recovery – A full recovery phase should be preplanned and initiated after the event, in order to resume normal business operations. This is critical in getting your business back as early as possible, to a complete functioning operation. Your plans should take into consideration that some staff members may need trauma counseling or time-off to recover from the hazardous event.

We at SafetyMax know that your employees are your most valuable asset. And this is why we developed shelter-in-place training programs that will assure their safety, protecting them from further harm and your company from liability, in the event of an emergency. We offer a variety of valuable training programs – CPR, First Aid, AED, Building Evacuation and more – that are all taught by experienced industry experts and meet OSHA requirements. We also know that every company is different, which is why we will customize a training program to meet your company’s specific needs.



  1. Robert Hopkins says:

    I am a small business on my own, operating from my house. For about 30 years, I worked in industrial construction, and I’ve never seen any business build or plan for a “safe place.”
    Most of what I built, however was power plants, commercial or industrial buildings, and machinery. I never built corporate headquarters for large operations, so most of the population would be disposable.

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