Shelter or Secure in Place

Shelter or secure in place refers to the need to remain where you are for your own safety.

Employees and students generally cannot be forced to shelter-in-place; however, there are circumstances when university officials and emergency personnel will order that everyone must stay where they are for their own safety and well-being. You should consider how and where to shelter-in-place prior to having to perform this measure.

A shelter or secure in place order may be issued for several reasons:

  • Severe weather
  • Hazardous materials
  • Intruder on campus
  • Hostage situation
  • Any situation where it is best for you to stay where you are to avoid an outside threat

The reason for the shelter or secure in place order may not be immediately communicated to everyone. If a shelter-in-place order is issued:

  • You should be alert for instructions and updates as they become available from the emergency personnel and university administrators.
  • If class is in session, if possible, do not allow any students to leave. If you are in other buildings such as dorms, have everyone remain there.
  • Keep everyone CALM.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.


You should know where the shelter areas are in your building. If you do not, attempt to seek shelter in the basement or interiormost portion of the building, avoiding windows and glass doors.

For additional information, see severe weather section.


  • Secure doors if possible and seek concealment (out of sight) away from doors and windows.
  • Turn the lights off and close any blinds or curtains. If you are not able to lock the door for any reason, attempt to barricade the door with furniture without endangering or injuring yourself.


Remain in the shelter until told everything is all clear by emergency personnel. Do not leave until you are sure of the identity or source of the person making the announcement.

Last updated: 08/14/2022