Some kinds of chemical accidents or attacks may make going outdoors dangerous. Leaving the area might take too long or put you in harm's way. In such a case it may be safer for you to stay indoors than to go outside.
'Shelter in place' means to make a shelter out of the place you are in (for example, your home, school or workplace) at the time of the emergency. It is a way for you to make your home or another building as safe as possible to protect yourself until help arrives. You should not try to shelter in a vehicle unless you have no other choice. Vehicles are not airtight enough to give you adequate protection from chemicals.
Every emergency is different and during any emergency people may have to evacuate or to shelter in place depending on where they live.
You will hear from the local police, emergency coordinators, or government on the radio and on television emergency broadcast systems if you need to shelter in place. Most likely you will only need to shelter for a few hours.
Act quickly and follow the instructions of the emergency services. Every situation can be different, so local emergency services might have special instructions for you to follow. In general, do the following: