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Chemical Emergencies

Chemical Emergencies

A chemical emergency is an accident which releases a hazardous amount of a chemical into the environment.  Accidents can happen underground, on railroad tracks, highways and at chemical storage or manufacturing plants.

In the event of a major chemical emergency, you will be notified by local officials.  You may be called by telephone or emergency personnel may drive by and give directions over a loud speaker. Officials could even come to your door.  Listen carefully to radio or television emergency alert stations and strictly follow instructions.

One of the basic instructions you may be given is to shelter-in-place.  This is a precaution aimed to keep you and your family safe while remaining in your home. If you are told to shelter-in-place, get family members and pets indoors immediately.

  • Close doors and windows. 
  • Turn off air conditioners, ventilation fans and forced air heating systems.
  • Close the fireplace damper.
  • Go to the room with the fewest windows and doors.
  • Take your family disaster supply kit with you.
  • Wet some towels and jam them into the crack under the doors.
  • Use plastic sheeting or garbage bags and tape around doors, windows, exhaust fans, vents, electrical outlets and heat registers.
  • Stay in the room and listen to your radio until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.

Authorities may decide to evacuate an area for your protection.  Stay calm, listen carefully and follow all instructions.  Take only clothes, personal care items and medications you may need for a few days.  Turn off utilities.  Lock windows and doors.  Keep vehicle windows and vents closed as you leave the area.  Tune to a local radio station and listen for instructions.