Shelter in Place


Shelter-in-place procedures may be used when officials deem that it is unsafe to be outdoors due to an environmental hazard in the vicinity of a SFU campus. This may include:

  • neighbouring industrial incidents;
  • significant impact to air quality inclusive of hazardous material release (chemical, biological, or other hazardous substances in solid, liquid or gaseous form);
  • storms: snow, severe wind, or lightning storms resulting in downed powerlines, high levels of disaster debris, or impacted access and egress routes;
  • earthquakes; 
  • other hazards which constitute a health or safety risk should individuals not take shelter including: wildlife hazards (e.g. bears, cougars, coyotes, and deer), and radiation levels which fall outside of Health Canada‚Äôs guidelines for human exposure.

Instructions to either shelter-in-place or evacute may come from SFU Alerts, Building Evacuation Coordinators, Fire Wardens, Campus Security, or First Responders.

(Note that shelter-in-place procedures are not used during acts of violence. For the active threat procedures, visit our page here.)


Follow these procedures to shelter-in-place: 

1) Seek and Share Shelter

  • Increase distance from the hazard. Enter the closest building possible if outdoors.
  • Avoid rooms with windows that cannot be sealed.

2) Seal exterior doors and windows

  • Seal exterior doors and windows.
  • In some cases, the ventilation system may be shut off.

3) Keep calm and alert

  • Keep phones on and monitor updates (@SFU on Twitter and on the SFU homepage). 
  • Minimize noise and do not make unnecessary calls.
  • Listen and be aware of potential hazards including unusual sounds and smells.

4) Stay

  • Remain in the secure location until additional info is provided by emergency personnel.

Safety Tips

  • If you are outside and alerted to seek shelter indoors, enter the closest possible building.
  • If it is safe to do so, share the building with other campus members seeking shelter.
  • Monitor SFU Alerts, and for additional information about the hazard.
  • Alert and share information about shelter-in-place instructions to others in your work area.