Shelter in Place

Sheltering in place is a concept that allows members of the community to find a place of refuge during a variety of emergency situations when it might be unsafe to be outdoors. The type of area to take refuge depends on the emergency. The common traits of a safe place are that they are interior rooms that can be locked from the inside with no or few windows.

Shelter in Place for Severe Weather 

For severe weather incidents like tornadoes, it is important to proceed to an interior room or hallway with no windows on the lowest floor possible. Shut all doors, including interior doors, and windows. Wait for an all clear message before leaving shelter.

Shelter in Place for Hazardous Materials

If you are told to shelter in place because of a hazardous materials incident, you should close all doors and windows, including blinds or curtains. Proceed to a floor higher than the ground floor, if available. Turn off all heating or cooling units and close all interior doors.  Wait for further instructions or an all clear message before leaving shelter.

Shelter in Place for Active Shooter or other Criminal Incident

When notified of an Active Shooter or other criminal incident, the correct action to take depends on several factors.

Shooter not in your building

If there is a report of an active shooter and the location is unknown or is at a campus location other than your building, shelter in place protocols are appropriate.

  • Proceed to a room that can be locked, close and lock doors and windows.

  • If the room cannot be locked, block the door with heavy furniture

  • Turn off all lights and silence phones.

  • Monitor cell phones for updated information.

  • Stay in place until instructed to do something else by emergency personnel.

An active shooter is in your building

Watch Run.Hide.Fight Suriving an Active Shooter Event

Run-If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route plan in mind

  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow

  • Leave all belongings behind

  • Help others escape, if possible, but do not attempt to move wounded people

  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be

  • Keep your hands visible

  • Follow the instructions of any police officers you encounter

  • Once out of the area, call friends and family members who might be concerned to let them know you are safe.

Hide- If you are unable to evacuate, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.

  • Find an interior room or closet out of the shooter’s view

  • Lock or barricade the door with heavy furniture

  • Turn off all lights and items that might make noise (TV or radio) and silence phones.

  • Remain calm

  • If possible, call 270.809.2222 or 911, or use the LiveSafe app to alert police of the shooter’s location

Fight- As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter.

  • Work as a team

  • Act as aggressively as possible against shooter

  • Throw items at the shooter and use improvised weapons (scissors, chairs, pens, etc.)

  • Yell

  • Commit to your actions

How to react when law enforcement arrives

  • Remain calm and follow officers’ instructions

  • Put down any items in your hands

  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers

  • Keep hands visible at all times

  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety

  • Avoid pointing, screaming, or yelling

  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating; just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises.

The best time to prepare for a critical incident is before the incident happens. Take time to consider safe places to run or hide in your work area, residence hall, or classrooms. Find the areas that will best provide the most protection for tornadoes and hazardous materials incidents. Take the time to prepare for an active shooter by watching the U.S. Department of Homeland Security training video.  

You may also request an active shooter response training session from the Murray State Police Department by calling 270.809.2222.

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