K-12 Standard Response Protocol Toolkit

2.4 Shelter


Shelter is called when specific protective actions are needed based on a threat or hazard. Training should include response to threats such as tornado, earthquake or hazmat.

Public Address

The public addresses for shelter should include the hazard and the safety strategy. The public address is repeated twice each time the public address is performed.

The public addresses for shelter should include the hazard and the safety strategy.

Hazards May Include

  • Tornado
  • Severe weather
  • Wildfires
  • Flooding
  • Hazmat spill or release
  • Earthquake
  • Tsunami

Safety Strategies May Include

  • Evacuate to shelter area
  • Seal the room
  • Drop, cover and hold
  • Get to high ground


The Texas School Safety Center website contains guidance resources for actions associated with severe weather and other threats. Collaboration with local responders, the national weather service, and other local, regional and state resources should be consulted in developing specific actions for your district response.

Access the Texas School Safety Center's Severe Weather Toolkit by clicking the button below.

Severe Weather Toolkit

Incident Command System

The School Incident Command System should be initiated.


Sheltering requires all students and staff follow response directives. Districts should have procedures for every hazard and threat which include provisions for those individuals with access and functional needs.


Identification and marking of facility shelter areas.


Shelter safety strategies should be drilled at least twice a year.

Shelter - State The Hazard and Safety Strategy

Using the Shelter directive and stating the hazard, allows for understanding of the threat and the associated protective actions. Most often, shelter directive is utilized for tornadoes or severe weather, in which case the directive would include where students and staff should shelter and be ready to take a protective posture. Sheltering for a Hazmat spill or release, is very different. In the case of a Hazmat situation, students and staff would be directed to close their windows, shut down their heating and air conditioning units and seal windows and doors to preserve the good inside air while restricting the entry of any contaminated outside air. Listening to specific directives is critical to a successful emergency response.

Plain Language Act

NIMS and ICS require the use of plain language. Codes and specific language that are not readily understood by the general public are no longer to be used. The SRP uses shared, plain, natural language between students, staff and first responders. This is evident in the directives provided in the SRP. If there are specific directives that need to be issued for a successful response in a school, those should be made clearly using plain language. There is nothing wrong with adding additional directives as to where to shelter, or what protective actions should be used in the response.


The classroom poster is sufficient for generic Shelter guidance. The Foundation recognizes that localized hazards may need to be added to the poster. Original, digital artwork can be provided to organizations that have signed a "Notice of Intent" or a "Memorandum of Understanding" with The "I Love U Guys" Foundation.

Please note: Currently, original artwork is only provided in Mac OS X, Pages version 4.3 iWork '09. It may be compatible with Pages 6. x for Mac OS X, iOS, or iWork for iCloud beta. Currently, artwork is not available for Microsoft Word. See Appendix A: FAQs.