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Chemical Emergencies

In The Home

Chemicals are a part of our every day lives.

Chemicals can sometimes be poisonous in larger amounts

or when used improperly.

Chemical accidents happen in the home and in the community.

How We are Exposed to Chemicals:

► By breathing in the fumes.

► By ingesting (swallowing) chemicals or contaminated food or water

► By absorbing (touching) chemicals or material with chemicals on it.

Symptoms of Chemical Poisoning:

Difficulty Breathing

Change in Skin Color



Blurred Vision

Irritated Skin, Eyes or Throat

Unusual Behavior

Lack of Coordination

Abdominal Cramps



► If you want information on Chemical Emergencies or Chemical Poisoning, 

Storage, Chemical Interactions, or General Chemical Information, 

contact the following BEFORE an Emergency Situation occurs.

► Post these Phone Numbers by your telephone in case of Emergency.

AAPCC (American Association of Poison Control Centers)



(The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)


Types of Environmental Chemical Emergencies

Airplane Accidents

Semi Truck Accidents on the Local Highways

Train Derailments

Building Fires which contain Chemicals

Industrial Fires

Industrial Explosions

Construction Accidents

Mining Explosions

► As part of your Plan, you should be aware of what possible dangers are

in your Community. Do you live near an Airport or under a flight path?

Do you live near a Railroad? Is there an Industrial Section of your town?

► Another thing to consider is the Weather. 

There may be a Chemical Emergency or HazMat situation miles away, 

but the Wind may carry fumes to your area. 

Rain may bring contaminate particles into your yard.

► If there is a Chemical Emergency, you will be notified by the Authorities. 

Listen to your local radio station or television for information. 

You may have Law Enforcement drive down your street using the public address system,

or knocking at your door.

You will be told whether to Shelter In Place, or to Evacuate.

You will be told the type of Health Hazard.

You will be told any Evacuation Routes and Shelter Locations.

► DO NOT CALL 9-1-1 for information. (see Call 9-1-1)

Try not to tie up the phone lines. Listen to your radio or television.

Shelter in Place

♦ If anyone is outside, get them in quickly!

♦ Close all door and windows.

♦ Turn off fans and heating and air conditioning units.

♦ Close fireplace dampers.

♦ Take your family and your DISASTER SUPPLIES and EMERGENCY and FIRST AID KITS 

to a room with the fewest possible doors and windows.

(As you put together your Plan, you will decide in which room to gather.

Do not go to the basement. Some gases are heavier than air and will settle

in the basement.)

♦ Stay away from windows.

♦ If your windows have blinds or curtains, pull them shut.

They will help protect you from flying glass and debris in case of an explosion.

♦ For further protection from polluted air, place wet towels under the door jams. 

Tape plastic (garbage bags work well or plastic sheeting) around the doors and windows,

 exhaust fans, outlets and heating/air conditioning vents.

♦ Stay Quiet and Stay Calm. You will not run out of air.

If you must leave the room (for supplies, activities for the children, 

food and water, stretch your legs, etc.) make as few trips as possible.

If you have pets, have newspaper so they may relieve themselves inside.

Wrap up the waste and put it in a plastic bag.

DO NOT GO OUTSIDE! unless instructed to evacuate.

♦ Listen to your radio for further updates.


If the Authorities tell you to evacuate, do so according to instructions.

If they say Immediately, go. 

Take the route you are told to take.

Taking a different route or "shortcut" could put you and your family in danger. 

Go where they tell you to go.

 Check in and get further instruction. 

You may be allowed to leave after you have checked in, 

but the authorities will know you have evacuated, are safe, and where you are going. 

This cuts down the risk of sending personnel into the area to look for you.

If they say you have time before you evacuate, gather your things 

and get ready to go. 

Again, follow instructions as above.

Immediate Evacuation

Do not use the phone to call everyone you know to tell them you are evacuating. 

You can call later. 

Do not tie up the phone lines.

Take any medications you might need along with your Doctor's telephone number.

Make sure your doors and windows are locked when you leave (and don't forget your keys).

If you have not yet gotten your DISASTER SUPPLIES and EMERGENCY and FIRST AID KITS 

for your car, take the ones from inside with you.

If you have Time Before You Evacuate

Gather a change of clothes for each member of the family. 

Make sure everyone has a good sturdy pair of shoes. 

Include your toothbrushes and toothpaste, and anything else that is a necessity.

If you have a baby, take some baby food and diapers. 

If you have elderly, take what they will need. 

If you have pets, take their leashes, bowls, and food.

Take your Paper Valuables, such as your Insurance Papers.

Unplug as many appliances as possible, such as television, lamps, computers, bathroom, and kitchen items. 

You may leave the refrigerator and/or freezer plugged in. 

Sparks from appliances and static electricity can cause sparks, which in turn can cause fire and explosions.

Leaving the Area

Take one car if possible. 

The fewer cars on the road leaves room for Emergency Vehicles to get where they need to go. 

If possible, carpool with a neighbor.

Follow the instructions given by Authorities for evacuation.

In the car, keep the windows rolled up and the heater/air conditioner off. 

Remember to close the vents.

If Your Family is Not at Home

If some or all of your family are not home, Stay Clam. 

(Discuss this possibility when you are making your Plan.)

Do Not make phone calls trying to find everyone. 

Follow the Authorities Instructions. 

You can reunite at the Shelter or leave word where you have gone. 

Shelter Staff will help you with this procedure.

If the children are at school, they will have people taking care of them.

You can talk to the school at the beginning of the year to find out what

their Emergency Procedures are.

If your spouse or another member of the family is at work, again,

follow the Authorities Instructions and meet at the shelter.

Continue to listen to the radio or television for details and instructions.

If you are home, and the Chemical Emergency happens in the area 

where your family member is at work or school, listen for information.

Please keep the phone lines open.

Chemical Emergencies on the Road

While you are traveling on the road, you may see a Chemical Emergency.

You may see a tanker truck overturn. You may see a traffic accident,

which results in automotive fluids such as gasoline leak onto the roadway.

You may see a chemical drum fall off a vehicle. You may see a structure fire

from the road.

May sure you are safe first!

Do not become another victim by driving into toxic fumes or liquids.

Call 9-1-1.

Environmental Chemical Emergencies can be life threatening.

Tell the dispatcher where you are first and that there is an accident.

Tell the dispatcher whatever facts you can: type and number of vehicles,

possible number of victims involved, color of vapors or liquids you see,

any labels on the vehicles you notice.

Make sure to close your car windows and turn off the heater/air conditioner

and close the vents.

Leave the area as quickly and safely as possible.

Follow any instructions the dispatcher gives you.

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