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Hazardous Materials Safety Information

Chemicals and hazardous materials are a part of our every day life - whether being moved through neighborhoods on roadways and railroads, or stored in our garages and under the kitchen sink. On most days, hazardous materials are used, stored and transported all over the city without incident. Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons and radioactive materials. These substances are most often released as a result of a transportation accident, or because of chemical accidents in plants or other facilities.

If an explosion or chemical spill does occur, it is extremely important to listen to your NOAA weather radio, local radio or television stations and your first responders for detailed information and instructions. Please follow the instructions carefully and stay away from the area to minimize the risk of contamination. Keep in mind that some toxic chemicals are odorless.

If you are asked to evacuate:

  • Evacuate immediately
  • Keep informed on evacuation routes, shelters and other procedures
  • Follow the routes recommended by the authorities
  • Take your emergency kit with special items such as pet food, baby supplies, medication etc.
  • Help your neighbors who may need special assistance, such as infants, elderly and people with access and functional needs
  • As soon as you are out of danger, call your family's emergency contact to let them know where you are and that you are safe

If you are caught outdoors:

  • Stay uphill and upwind, and move away from the accident area and help keep others away
  • Do not walk in or touch any spilled liquids or mists.
  • Cover your mouth with a cloth while leaving the area.Try not to inhale gases, fumes and smoke.

If you are asked to stay indoors (shelter in place):

  • Put emergency supply kit including your NOAA weather radio with batteries in your pre-identified safe room
  • Close and lock all exterior doors and windows
  • Close vents, fireplace dampers and interior doors
  • Turn off air conditioning and ventilation systems. In large buildings, put ventilation system to 100% recirculation.
  • Go into your pre-identified safe room, up high and most interior room, away from windows. Don't forget your pets
  • Monitor conditions with your radio
  • Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels or plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Seal gaps around windows and air conditioning units, exhaust fans and vents with duct tape and plastic sheeting
  • Fill cracks and holes in the room (such as around pipes) with materials you have
  • If gas or vapors have entered the building, take shallow breaths through a cloth or towel. Avoid eating or drinking any food or water that may be contaminated

Safe Room Safety

Ten square feet of floor space per person will provide sufficient air to prevent carbon dioxide build up for up to five hours at a normal breathing rate while resting.

Local officials are unlikely to recommend being in your sealed room for more than 2-3 hours. If this point is passed, emergency personnel may evacuate the area.