Hazardous Materials

Hazardous material spills can occur at any time as a result of natural incidents (floods, storms, etc.) or can result from man-induced accidents. Should a hazardous material spill occur in the area, the following steps are suggested:

Prior to a Hazardous Material Spill/Incident
  • Keep basic items on-hand such as duct tape, towels, and disposable breathing masks; prepare an emergency supply kit (PDF) in advance.
  • Pre-select a shelter room in your home that has minimal access to the outside and no windows.
  • If you live near railroad tracks, along highways frequently traveled by vehicles hauling chemicals, or in the vicinity of industrial areas, create an emergency plan for sheltering in place, as well as for evacuating should a major hazardous material incident occur. View instructions on sheltering in place.
Haz-Mat Composite
If Indoors During a Hazardous Material Incident
  • Close and lock all exterior doors, windows and as many interior doors as possible.
  • Turn off air conditioners/ventilation systems.
  • Go into the pre-selected shelter room. This room should be above ground and have the fewest openings to the outside.
  • Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels and duct tape.
  • If gas or vapors have entered the building, take shallow breaths through a cloth or a towel.
  • Follow instructions provided by health/safety officials on personal cleansing methods, medical treatment and the proper procedures for handling exposed items.
If Near Hazardous Materials Outside

  • Stay upstream, uphill, and upwind. Place yourself at least one-half mile from the scene; help keep others at a distance.
  • Do not walk into or touch any spilled liquids, airborne mists or solid chemical deposits.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth while leaving the area.
  • Do not return to the contaminated area until all hazardous materials have been identified and the scene deemed safe.
  • Listen for emergency information on what to do if exposed to hazardous materials; seek medical attention if feeling ill or having reactions.
Prevention of Carbon Monoxide & Toxic Fume Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that cause serious illness or even death. This gas is a by-product of combustion, and is often produced by:
  • vehicles
  • small gas-powered engines
  • stoves
  • lanterns
  • charcoal
  • wood
  • gas-powered appliances
  • gas, coal or oil home-heating systems
The Center for Disease Control recommends the following measures to prevent carbon monoxide exposure:
  • Install approved, battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors in your home, office, or barns; check/change batteries at least once a year to ensure the unit is working properly.
  • Have home heating systems and other appliances (fueled by gas, oil, or coal) inspected yearly by qualified professionals. Have certified technicians replace/repair faulty or damaged components.
  • Do not heat a room/home with a gas oven; DO NOT burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't properly vented.
  • Only use a generator, grill, camp stove or other burning device if it placed at a safe distance from a structure or living area. Always ensure adequate ventilation is present.
  • Do not start a vehicle engine inside a garage. Even if the garage door is open, harmful fumes can still accumulate in the area.
  • If at any time you feel dizzy/nauseated and suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, leave the structure immediately and call 911.
  • Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum or other material; call a professional technician to service pipes and other appliance components.