Hazards

All Hazards Planning

MCAS Iwakuni is surrounded by many types of heavy industry. Preparation and knowledge are key in mitigating the hazards presented by the local industry.


What "Shelter-in-Place" Means:

One of the instructions you may be given in an emergency where hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere is to shelter-in-place. This is a precaution aimed at keeping you safe while remaining indoors. (This is not the same as going to a shelter in case of a storm.)

Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room, with few or no windows, and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire home or office building. If you are told to shelter-in-place, follow the instructions provided by local officials and within this presentation.

Shelter-in-Place Room Sealing Instructions 

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Why You Might Need to Shelter-in-Place:

Chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants may be released accidentally or intentionally into the environment. Should this occur, information will be provided by local authorities on television, radio and via the Mass Notification System. Because information will most likely be provided on television and radio, it is important to keep a TV or radio on, even during the workday. The important thing is for you to follow instructions of local authorities and know what to do if they advise you to shelter-in-place.

This is the disaster supply kit.

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At Home:
  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
  • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
  • Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems, clothes dryers, and range hoods.
  • Get your family disaster supplies kit, turn on your TV, and make sure your radio is working.
  • Go to an interior room without windows that's above ground level. In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed. The higher the better.
  • Bring your pets with you, and be sure to bring additional food and water supplies for them.
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room you select. Call your emergency contact and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
  • Use duct tape and plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room.
  • Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community. Know the Defense Zones aboard the Air Station.

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At Work:
  • Secure your workspace.
  • If there are customers, clients, or visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay – not leave. Bring everyone into the designated shelter room (s). 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 in. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary. Large storage closets, utility rooms, pantries, copy and conference rooms without exterior windows will work well. Avoid selecting a room with mechanical equipment like ventilation blowers or pipes, because this equipment may not be able to be sealed from the outdoors.
  • Close and lock 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.
  • Unless there is an imminent threat, ask employees, customers, clients, and visitors to call their emergency contact to let them know where they are and that they are safe.
  • Have employees familiar with your building’s mechanical systems turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems. Some systems automatically provide for exchange of inside air with outside air – these systems, in particular, need to be turned off, sealed, or disabled.
  • Gather essential disaster supplies, such as nonperishable food, bottled water, battery-powered radios, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, duct tape, plastic sheeting, and plastic garbage bags.
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room (s) you select. Call emergency contacts and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
  • Use duct tape and plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal all cracks around the door (s) and any vents into the room.
  • Write down the names of everyone in the room, and call your designated emergency contact to report who is in the room with you (employee, visitor, client, customer.)
  • Keep listening to the radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.

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In your Vehicle:
  • If you are very close to home, your office, or a public building, go there immediately and go inside. Follow the shelter-in place recommendations for the place you pick described above.
  • If you are unable to get to a home or building quickly and safely, then pull over to the side of the road. Stop your vehicle in the safest place possible. If it is sunny outside, it is preferable to stop in a shady spot, to avoid being overheated.
  • Turn off the engine.
  • Close windows and vents.
  • If possible, seal the heating/air conditioning vents with duct tape.
  • Listen to the radio regularly for updated advice and instructions.
  • Stay where you are until you are told it is safe to get back on the road. Be aware that some roads may be closed or traffic detoured.
  • Follow the directions of law enforcement officials.

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Information source: 

Radio & TV broadcasts are the best source of information for your particular situation. Following official instructions during and after emergencies regarding sheltering, food, water, and clean up methods is your safest choice.

Remember that instructions to shelter-in-place are usually provided for durations of a few hours, not days or weeks. There is little danger that the room in which you are taking shelter will run out of oxygen and you will suffocate.

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Further Information:

Safety Office - Noncombatant Community Preparedness Program – Respirators for you and your family. Building 130 ph. 253-4303

Red Cross – How to Prepare for Emergencies - https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies.html

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – Hazard Mitigation Planning – https://www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-planning

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