Emergency incidents in the community are rare. In the event of an incident, you can take effective measures to ensure your safety and that of your family. Despite all safety precautions, it is possible that an emergency occurring anywhere in the area could create irritating or hazardous conditions for those people in close proximity. Being inside provides you with added protection from hazards. Staying inside is safer than trying to leave the area. In case of an emergency do not listen to rumors. This pamphlet, a battery powered radio and/or TV will tell you what actions you need to take.


  • Seal your house so contaminants cannot enter.
  • Identify switches to turn off all fans, heating, cooling or ventilation systems.
  • Close and lock windows and doors.
  • Fully extinguish fires in the fireplace with water then close dampers.
  • Close off non-essential rooms such as storage areas, laundry rooms, and extra bedrooms.
  • Seal gaps under doorways and windows.
  • Seal window and air conditioning units, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and stove and dryer vents.
  • Have on hand an emergency readiness and first aid kit.
  • Use phones (cellular as well) only when absolutely necessary. Emergency Services will need every available telephone line to initiate help and rescue operations.
  • Close windows and vents, if you are in your car.
  • Contact your children's school in advance so you know their emergency event procedures.
  • Share this pamphlet with your neighbors.


When you hear the emergency sirens in your area (Note: These sirens are tested every Saturday at noon in the Memphis and Shelby County area), or If you see an unusual cloud or smell an unusual odor in your area, or When instructed by emergency personnel (fire and/or police). You should take steps to Shelter-In-Place. Immediately proceed to an enclosed structure - a house, building or vehicle. Don't forget children and pets. IF YOUR CHILDREN ARE IN SCHOOL, the teachers will be informed in the event of an emergency. You should not attempt to pick-up your children at their school; this would only cause confusion and could be dangerous for you and your children. If you know of elderly persons, handicapped individuals or unattended children in your neighborhood, advise them to remain indoors.


  • Stay calm, immediately proceed to an enclosed structure - a house, building or vehicle.


Cover any leaky areas, like those around doors and windows, with damp towels or sheets, or cover these areas with plastic sheeting and tape. Even a poorly sealed building or vehicle provides some protection in the event of an emergency. TURN OFF ALL FANS, HEATING, COOLING OR VENTILATION SYSTEMS Close all outside ventilation sources. Turn off air conditioners, heaters or ceiling fans. If you are inside and have trouble breathing, place a wet cloth or towel over your nose and mouth and try to breathe in quick shallow breaths.


Do not tie up telephones, cellular phones or emergency phone lines. Emergency Services will need every available telephone line to initiate help and rescue operations. Remain in your home and listen to bulletins on TV or radio. The Emergency Broadcast System will act as the primary distribution of official information concerning the emergency. Wait for the ALL CLEAR. As soon as the hazard has passed the authorities will announce the all-clear signal over the radio or TV.

Suggested Emergency Readiness Kit Items

  • Protective Gloves
  • Cloth Towels
  • Plastic Sheeting for Windows and Doors
  • Duct Tape
  • Bottled Water (1-gallon per day/per person)
  • Battery Powered Flashlight
  • Battery Powered Radio
  • Battery Powered Television
  • Scissors
  • Batteries
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Manual Can Opener
  • First Aid Kit
  • Tools or Small Tool Kit
  • Thermal Blanket
  • Chlorine Bleach/Lysol


For additional information on Emergency Readiness pamphlets you may contact the Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) at (901) 515-2525.
For more information regarding Shelter-in-Place you may contact EMA's Training Officer at (901) 515-2525.

If you would like additional information regarding Shelter-in-Place efforts contact the community leader in your area. The Office of Youth Services and Community Affairs at (901) 636-6589 may be helpful in identifying your community leader.