Hazardous Materials

Chemical manufacturing plants are just one source of potential danger from hazardous materials. These toxic products are stored, used and transported daily throughout our communities. Occasionally accidents happen, and the effects of spills and leaks can be spread for miles through the air, sewer system or waterways.

Before a Chemical Disaster

  • Contact your local emergency management office for information about nearby factories, warehouses or highways that may handle hazardous materials
  • Learn the emergency alert system for your area
  • Be prepared to evacuate with little or no notice

During a Chemical Disaster

  • Call 911 if you witness a spill or accident
  • Evacuate immediately if told to do so by authorities
  • If not evacuating, get inside as quickly as possible. Bring pets inside too

If Advised to Stay Inside

  • Close windows and both inside and outside doors
  • Seal off vents and fireplaces
  • Turn off air conditioners
  • Gather everyone in the above-ground room with the fewest doors and windows
  • Tape plastic sheeting around windows and vents, and tape the sides, tops and bottoms of doors

After a Chemical Disaster

  • Do not return home until authorities say it is safe
  • After you return or when authorities say it is OK to leave your shelter, open all windows and turn on vents and fans to flush chemicals and gases from your home
  • Report any residual gases, chemicals or other hazards
  • Seek medical treatment for any exposure as soon as possible
  • Seal up exposed clothing and contact authorities about proper disposal
  • Find out from authorities how to clean up your land or property

Did You Know

Every year in the United States, there are about 15,000 incidents in which hazardous materials are spilled or leaked while being transported.