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05/09/2011 07:00:00

Seek, Secure, Silence, Stay: Shelter in Place

On Wednesday, May 11, Caltech will be holding a shelter-in-place drill, beginning at approximately 1:10 p.m.

The purpose behind the drill is to ready the campus for those types of emergencies in which a shelter-in-place response might be needed: a chemical or biological spill, severe weather, or an armed individual on campus, for instance. In these situations, being or heading outside is likely to be more hazardous than remaining indoors.

At the start of the shelter-in-place drill (and in the case of a real emergency), the Caltech Emergency Notification System, Connect Ed, will send notifications to all campus personnel via text, cell, telephone, and email. Upon notification, you should put into the place the "four Ss" of a shelter-in-place procedure:

  • Seek shelter indoors. If necessary, go to the nearest room with a door; stay where you are if you are already in a safe place. Do not come to campus if you are off campus at the time of the notification.
  • Secure doors and windows and close blinds and curtains. If possible, lock and barricade doors. In the case of a chemical or biological emergency, seal the cracks around doors and windows with towels or tape.
  • Silence computers and audio equipment. Keep voices low. Put cell phones on vibrate, but do not turn them off. Turn off heating and air conditioning where possible.
  • Stay calm, stay where you are, and await further instructions.

In order for you to receive notification of drills and emergencies, all of your contact information in must to be up to date and accurate. If you have not recently updated that information, or if any of your phone numbers or email addresses have changed, please visit

Written by Lori Oliwenstein