Shelter-In-Place & Evacuate

What is Shelter-In-Place?

Shelter-In-Place simply means staying inside your home, business, or other facility, or seeking shelter in the nearest available building.  During an accidental release of toxic chemicals or emergencies involving hazardous materials where air quality may be threatened, Shelter-In-Place keeps you inside a protected area and out of danger.

When should I Shelter-In-Place?

Local authorities are responsible for issuing orders for Shelter-In-Place during chemical or hazardous material emergencies.  You may receive notice directly from police or fire officials, siren notification, telephone notification, or through radio or television broadcasts.


As soon as you are notified that an emergency situation exits in your area, tune your local Emergency Alert System (EAS) station for further information. Primary EAS stations for Will County include: 

WJOL - 1340 AM

WSSR - 96.7 FM

WCCQ - 98.3 FM

WRXQ - 100.7 FM


Emergency information and steps to be taken will be broadcast regularly until the emergency is over.  For more information, view and download the entire Shelter-In-Place or Evacuate Booklet.

Shelter-In-Place At Home

If you are asked to Shelter-In-Place, take the following actions:


  • If possible, bring outdoor pets inside.

  • Close and lock all doors and windows to the outside.

  • Turn off all heating/air-conditioning systems and switch inlet or vents to the “closed” position.

  • Close all fireplace dampers.

  • Seal gaps around window-type air-conditioners, fireplace dampers, doors and windows with plastic sheeting, wax paper, aluminum wrap or any other suitable material and tape.

  • Seal bathroom exhaust fans or fills, range vents, dryer vents, and any other openings to the best extent possible.

  • Close drapes or shades over windows. Stay away from windows.

  • Remain in place until you are told by police or fire officials, or through radio /television broadcasts that it is safe to leave.


If time does not permit you to seal the entire home, close as many internal doors as possible, move to the most central room in the home and seal that room as above. 

What If I Can't Find Shelter?

Studies indicate that taking shelter is the best response to a chemical release.  Even a poorly sealed building or vehicle provides some protection against a release.  If you can’t get inside, move so the wind is blowing from your left to right, or right to left, but not directly into your face or from behind you.  This would allow you the best opportunity to get away from the highest concentration of the release.



  • Stay inside your home, place of business, or other enclosed building.

  • Tune to an Emergency Alert System (EAS) station on your radio or television for further information.



  • Go outside or attempt to drive unless you are specifically instructed to evacuate. (Evacuation procedures may vary by community).

  • Call 9-1-1 to check on the status of the emergency. Listen to your radio for further information and updates.


Disasters force people to evacuate their homes more often than you may realize.  Transportation or industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes for a safer area.  Fires and floods result in evacuation even more frequently, as well as other natural disasters.


Therefore, evacuation planning is important.  Specific evacuation plans may vary by community and by the type of disaster.   For more information, view and download the entire Shelter-In-Place or Evacuate Booklet.

Indoor Telephone Notification

No one wants to think about emergencies such as natural disasters or industrial accidents in our community.  But emergencies happen, and being prepared is always the best approach.


That’s why the Will County Emergency Management Agency, Will County Emergency Telephone System Board, along with several industries in Will County have teamed up to provide an enhanced emergency alert system for your neighborhood.  The Emergency Indoor Telephone Notification System is a state-of-the-art telecommunications service designed to inform you and your neighbors of critical situations at a moment’s notice.


The Emergency Telephone Notification System is a supplemental warning system, backing up effective methods already in place such as sirens and Emergency Alert System (EAS).


In the unlikely event of an emergency affecting your neighborhood, you may first hear sirens.  In some cases, you won’t hear a siren, but in either event you may receive a computerized telephone call from the Will County Emergency Telephone Notification System.  A message will be given to you over the phone about the emergency and what actions you should take (either Shelter-In-Place or Evacuate).


If you have any questions, or would like further information on Shelter-In-Place or Evacuation plans, or you would like to learn more about the Indoor Telephone Notification system, please contact our office.