Hazardous Materials Incident

Chemicals are shipped in concentrated forms and can be hazardous if spilled due to highway or railroad accidents. If you are asked to evacuate, do so immediately.

Hazardous materials survival tips

  • STAY AWAY from the spill site to avoid or minimize contamination or exposure to dangerous fumes or radiation. Radioactive materials and some chemicals have no odor.
  • LISTEN to local radio or television stations and follow emergency instructions carefully.

If you are caught outside:

  • Stay upstream, uphill and upwind (blowing away from you)!
  • Go at least one-half mile (usually 8-10 city blocks) from the site.
  • Do not walk into or touch spilled liquids, airborne mists or condensed solid chemical deposits.

If you are caught in a vehicle:

  • Stop and seek shelter in a permanent building.
  • If you must remain in your car, close car windows and vents and shut off the air conditioner or heater.

If you are directed to stay indoors or shelter where you are:

  • Close and lock all exterior doors and windows.
  • Close vents, fireplace dampers and as many interior doors as possible.
  • Turn off fans, heating and air conditioners.
  • Gather your Disaster Supplies Kit and go to a room above ground (NOT the basement) with the fewest doors and windows.
  • Wet some towels and jam them in the crack under the door. Seal the room by covering all windows, doors and vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Fill or block all cracks and holes in the room, including those around pipes.
  • Wait in place until the emergency passes or you are told to evacuate.

After a hazardous materials incident:

  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
    Ventilate the house or building. Open windows and vents and turn on fans.
  • Act quickly if you were exposed to hazardous chemicals.
    • Follow decontamination instructions from local authorities. You may be advised to shower thoroughly or you may be advised to avoid water and follow another procedure.
    • Seek medical treatment for unusual symptoms as soon as possible.
    • Put all exposed clothing and shoes in tightly-sealed containers. Do not allow them to contact other materials. Call local authorities to find out about proper disposal.
    • Advise anyone coming into contact with you that you may have been exposed to a toxic substance.
  • Find out from local authorities how to clean up your land and property.
  • Report any lingering vapors or other hazards to your local emergency services office.