“Shelter in Place.” What does it mean?

During news coverage of the recent suspect hunt connected to the Boston Marathon bombings, you might have heard the phrase, “shelter in place.” The term was used to tell students at MIT and residents in the Boston area Shelter in Placeto stay indoors where they were until they received further instructions from law enforcement officials.

“Shelter in place” often is used interchangeably with or instead of “lockdown.”

CPCC’s emergency response plans and guidebook also uses the phrase “shelter in place.” This instruction could be given to the college community in a number of emergency situations, including severe weather, an armed person on campus or an active shooter on or near campus.

If CPCC College Security instructs the college community to shelter in place, here’s what you should do, according to CPCC’s Emergency Response Guidebook.

Shelter in Place

When directed to shelter in place, the following actions should be taken:

  • All students, faculty, staff and visitors should move into or stay inside the closest permanent campus building.
  • Close and move away from all windows and doors.
  • Lock or barricade doors if possible.
  • Approved Shelter in Place areas are marked on the Fire Exit Plans posted on each floor.
  • Remain in place until notified by College Security, the Building Captain, or emergency response personnel that the incident has been cleared.
  • Information concerning the event will be distributed through College Security, Building Captains, and other emergency communication methods such as the Critical Alert Emergency Notification System.

Note:  Security personnel will secure exterior doors. Law enforcement agencies may use the term “lockdown” when directing occupants to shelter in place.