Hazardous Materials

Main Content

Hazardous Materials Emergency Response

While there are many possible scenarios where hazardous materials spill, explode, are released into the air, and/or burn, a train derailment is the most likely cause of a serious incident. Regardless of how the incident begins, The following guidance should be followed.

Listen to local radio or television stations for detailed information and instructions. Follow the instructions carefully. You should stay away from the area to minimize the risk of contamination. Remember that some toxic chemicals are odorless.

  • If you are asked to evacuate
    • Do so immediately.
    • Take pre-assembled disaster supplies.
    • Help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people and people with access and functional needs.
    • Follow evacuation routes, temporary shelters, and procedures.
  • If you are caught outside
    • Stay upstream, uphill, and upwind!
    • Try to go at least one-half mile from the danger area.
    • Move away from the accident scene and help keep others away.
    • Do not walk into or touch any spilled liquids, airborne mists, or condensed solid chemical deposits.
    • Try not to inhale gases, fumes and smoke. If possible, cover mouth with a cloth while leaving the area.
    • Stay away from accident victims until the hazardous material has been identified.
  • If you are in a motor vehicle
    • Stop and seek shelter in a permanent building.
    • If you must remain in your car
      • Keep car windows and vents closed
      • Shut off the air conditioner and heater.
  • If you are requested to stay indoors
    • Bring pets inside.
    • Close and lock all exterior doors and windows.
    • Close vents, fireplace dampers, and as many interior doors as possible.
    • Turn off air conditioners and ventilation systems.
    • Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels or plastic sheeting and duct tape.
    • Seal gaps around window and air conditioning units, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and stove and dryer vents with duct tape and plastic sheeting, wax paper or aluminum wrap.
    • Use material to fill cracks and holes in the room, such as those around pipes.
    • If gas or vapors could have entered the building, take shallow breaths through a cloth or a towel. Avoid eating or drinking any food or water that may be contaminated.

This material is adapted from http://www.ready.gov/hazardous-materials-incidents