UW Today

This is an archived article.

November 19, 2009

Disaster tip of the month: Creating a ‘safe room’ in your home

Editor’s note: The Emergency Management Division of the Washington Military Department is offering a tip a month to help people get prepared for a disaster. University Week will carry these monthly tips.

November’s tip has to do with creating a “safe room” in your home. A safe room is defined as a room that easily and quickly can be sealed to protect you from airborne agents, and that has a few supplies to get you through the hours that you will need to stay inside it. A master bedroom with attached bath is ideal for this purpose.

To prepare a safe room:


  • Purchase plastic sheeting and cloth tape or duct tape.
  • Pre-cut the plastic to fit all windows, vents and doors fo the room, and label each piece.
  • Create a box or container to hold the pre-cut plastic and tape, along with a battery powered AM/FM radio, extra batteries, some snack food, some water, and some towels and blankets. Store this box in your safe room.

If an emergency with airborne contaminants arises, follow these steps:


  • Go inside immediately, and take your pets.
  • Tightly lock all doors and windows
  • Shut off fans and devices that circulate air throughout your home.
  • Go to your pre-selected room and seal it tightly.
  • Listen to the radio for instructions
  • Thoroughly air out your home once the emergency is over.

Click here to download a PDF with this information.

Click here to go to the UW’s Emergency Management Web site.