Sheltering in place is the converse of evacuation.  Instead of leaving a building, inhabitants should remain inside; persons outside should seek shelter within a structure for safety.  Typically, this strategy is engaged during severe weather; however, it may also be used during an active threat or a hazardous chemical release, where the hazard of breathing outside air is greater than remaining inside a building.


  • Seek an interior room without windows. Consider location with water and/or bathroom facilities.
  • In hazmat situations, turn off all ventilation systems such as air conditioners/heating units, bathroom/exhaust fans, or air handlers.
  • Close all windows and doors.
  • Make laboratories safe.
  • Monitor event through the media or The University of Alabama’s web site.
  • Remain in the shelter until officials advise it is safe to leave.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Avoid areas with glass or windows.
  • Avoid shelter in automobiles.
  • In weather events, go to the lower floors or basement.
  • Maintain a disaster supply kit. (Don’t forget special medication.)
  • During an active threat, if running away from the danger area is not an option, shelter in rooms that offer protection.


Best Available Refuge Areas (BARA) for severe weather are located on building evacuation maps.  The maps are mounted on the interior walls of each building near ingress/egress locations.  If a map is missing, contact the Office of Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) at 205-348-5905.


American Red Cross–Shelter in Place Video (YouTube)

American Red Cross Shelter in Place

Best Available Refuge Areas

CDC Shelter-in-Place Guidelines