Safety Tips for Hazardous Materials Emergencies

The use and transport of hazard materials in the United States is part of our society today. Occasionally hazardous materials emergencies occur such as an accidental release to the environment of chemicals from a manufacturing process or a transportation accident. When these releases happen, they sometimes pose a risk to the public that has the potential for harming people's health. Knowing what to do in a chemical emergency will help you to keep yourself and your family safe during one. The following information and links will help provide you with tips on what to do during an emergency chemical release such as reporting the emergency, sheltering-in-place when it is unsafe to leave the area of the chemical release, evacuation, and personal cleaning and disposal of contaminated clothing if you have been exposed to the chemical released.

If you believe that you have been exposed to a biological, chemical or radiological agent, or if you believe an intentional threat will occur or is occurring, please call 911. This will alert emergency services such as the Fire Department, Police Department, Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Management, and the Local Emergency Planning Committee for response and investigation.

Listen to local radio stations, television stations including local cable TV channels if there is a chemical emergency nearby. Emergency services and local elected officials will post information and instructions for public safety regarding the emergency through these media venues.

The federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) has an informative, comprehensive website to assist you with knowing what to do in a chemical emergency. You could protect yourself during a chemical emergency, even if you didn't know yet what chemical had been released. For general information on protecting yourself, read this Web site's fact sheets on evacuationsheltering in place, and personal cleaning and disposal of contaminated clothing. The CDC website also has information on individual chemicals.