Shelter in Place Procedures

Shelter-in-Place (or Place of Refuge) refers to a designated area of safety when it is not safe to go outside, such as a small, interior room if possible, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. If you are told to shelter-in-place, follow the instructions provided. Different situations can require different locations, detailed below.

Why You Might Need to Shelter-in-Place

The air outside may become dangerously contaminated biologically, radiological, or chemically—either intentionally or accidentally—severe weather such as a thunderstorm or tornado is occurring; or there is an active shooter, making it unsafe to be exposed to outside conditions. Should this occur, information will be provided by college authorities through E-2 Campus Alert and the outdoor warning system (CEAS). The important thing is for you to follow instructions of college authorities and or local law enforcement and know what to do if they advise you to shelter-in-place. In any emergency, local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should monitor television or radio news reports for information or official instructions as they become available. If you're specifically told to evacuate or seek medical treatment, do so immediately.

Shelter-in-Place for Contamination

  • Stop classes or work, or close business operations.
  • Share the notification with others in the building if possible, but do not leave the area where you were instructed to shelter-in-place.
  • Close all windows, exterior doors, and any other openings to the outside.
  • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
  • Gather essential disaster supplies if possible.
  • Select interior room(s) above the ground floor with the fewest windows or vents. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary.
  • Bring everyone into the room(s) and shut door(s).
  • Keep listening to local radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. College and local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas.

Shelter-in-Place for Severe Weather

  • Stop classes or work, or close business operations.
  • Share the notification with others in the building if possible, but do not leave the area where you were instructed to shelter-in-place.
  • Close all windows, exterior doors, and any other openings to the outside.
  • If you are in a laboratory equipped with a fume hood and/or a biosafety cabinet, close hoods and sashes.
  • Gather essential disaster supplies if possible.
  • Select interior room(s) below or at ground level. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary.
  • Bring everyone into the room(s) and shut door(s).
  • Keep listening to local radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.

Shelter-in-Place for an Active Shooter/Criminal Activity

Criminal Activity

Call the Lynchburg College Campus Security Department at 5555 from a campus phone or 434-544-5555 from a non-campus phone if you observe a crime in progress or behavior that you suspect is criminal. 911 (Lynchburg Emergency Services) should also be called. Do not approach or attempt to apprehend person(s) involved.

Report information, including:

  • Direction of travel when last seen
  • Location
  • Physical and clothing description
  • Vehicle description, license plate number
  • Weapons or tools involved
  • What the person is doing

If you believe you are safe, stay on the phone with the police dispatcher until instructed otherwise.

Active Shooter

If an active shooter is outside your building:

  • Proceed to a room that can be locked, close and lock all the windows and doors, and turn off all the lights.
  • If possible, get everyone down on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the room.
  • One person in the room should call 911 and Campus Security 434-544-5555, advise the dispatcher of what is taking place, and inform him/her of your location.
  • Remain in place until the police, or a campus administrator known to you, gives the "all clear." Unfamiliar voices may be the shooter attempting to lure victims from their safe space.
  • Do not respond to any voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer.

If an active shooter is in the same building as you:

  • Determine if the room you are in can be locked and if so, follow the same procedure described for a shooter outside your building.
  • If your room can't be locked, determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and secured, or if you can safely exit the building.

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom:

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Call 911 and Campus Security 434-544-5555, and alert police to the shooter's location; if you can't speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what's taking place. Normally the location of a 911 call can be determined without speaking.
  • You have options. You can make attempts to:
  • Hide and Shelter-in-Place
  • Escape
  • Negotiate with the shooter
  • Overpower the shooter (which should be considered a last resort)
  • If the shooter leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place and do not touch anything that was in the vicinity of the shooter.

Under all circumstances, if you decide to flee during an active shooting situation, make sure you have an escape route and plan in mind. Do not attempt to carry anything while fleeing; move quickly, keep your hands visible, and follow the instructions of any police officers you may encounter. Notify authorities of the location of wounded people as soon as possible. Do not try to drive off campus until advised it is safe to do so by police or campus administrators